Here at the “critical habitat area” of the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, bald eagles are easily spotted perched in cottonwood trees, soaring above, or jostling each other on sandbars, from mid-September through December. Dozens sometimes perch in a single tree. It’s the world’s largest concentration of bald eagles, sometimes bigger than the human population of the Chilkat Valley. At this spot, warm upwellings of waters keep the Tsirku River waters free of ice, providing access to a late-season run of salmon and concentrating hundreds of eagles in a small area. A walking trail, boardwalk, spotting scope, interpretive information and restrooms make this a worthwhile stop for motorists year-round. In the spring, watch for Trumpeter swans and snow buntings. A kiosk at the Haines Airport tells the story of Yendeistakye, a Native village once located at the site, where whites led by naturalist John Muir first met with powerful Chilkat chiefs.