Small town teeming with bald eagles find coping with them ‘difficult’

For many in the Lower 48, seeing a bald eagle can be a rare treat, but for a small town in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, living with bald eagles can be a pain. And Unalaska has a lot of them.

Some 600 bald eagles live within a few square miles of Unalaska, a town on Unalaska Island, which stretches 80 miles long and is home to Dutch Harbor of “Deadliest Catch” fame.

As the New York Post reported, bald eagles in Unalaska are “as commonplace as seagulls or pigeons in other towns.”

“These bald eagles are so amazing and we love seeing them, but when they’re involved in your daily life, they can make running errands or your work difficult,” Carlin Enlow, director of the Unalaska tourism board, said in CNN’s Great Big Story.

Added public safety officer Kevin Wood, “Even something as simple as mailing a letter could be dangerous.”

That’s because a bald eagle nest sits on a hillside adjacent the post office, which prompted officials to post warning signs about the nesting birds.

Bald eagles are plentiful in Unalaska but can be a pain.

“Eagles have been known to swoop down and attack people,” Wood said in the video. “They’re very territorial and they’re just trying to protect their nests. Some people have been hurt during these incidents.”

Pam Aus, a resident who runs Bingo at the senior center, told of the time a bald eagle wing hit her head and the talons grabbed a red box she was carrying; the bald eagle flew away with it.

The box, which had Bingo stuff in it, was never seen again.

Bald eagles especially like hanging out at the dock in Dutch Harbor, waiting for the fishing boats to come in so they can steal fish as they are unloaded.

“Do I think they’re pests?” commercial fisherman Bob Wilson said. “Oh, absolutely. But they’re cool pests, so that’s OK. They make a mess of my boat, which is kind of the bad part, but they are our national bird and we love them anyway.”

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