to be taken for its breathtaking solitude with an occasional stirring or startling to flight.
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All are interesting in and of themselves (although some are so remotely located and secretive that they are hard to find), but together they give the park extra dimension. Once upon a time, when I began to go to Glacier in the autumn, I saw a phenomenon so spectacular that the usual October silence of McDonald Creek below Lake McDonald turned into a parking lot of observers who were there to watch some three hundred to four hundred bald eagles feed on kokanee salmon. It was a sight so exciting that visitors from as far away as Europe and Asia heard about the annual phenomenon and came
to view for themselves the eagles diving from frosted tree limbs into the creek and returning with a fish. For as long as my family and I wished to stay, mature and young eagles would ply their trade. Sometimes, the young would sink their talons in more than they could lift. Only after a struggle would they disconnect. Occasionally, death would occur when the hooks were sunk too deep and the eagle was dragged under the water.
I point out this scene as much for the origins and unintended consequences as the moment of its happening. The kokanee were artificially introduced into Flathead Lake and River in 1916. Immediately, they displaced the population of cutthroat trout. Eagles took note and began to gather along McDonald Creek where the salmon came to spawn. By 1981, more than six hundred eagles were feeding on upwards of 100,000 salmon annually. Unfortunately, another unnatural occurrence was introduced that destroyed the kokanee population. Mysis shrimp were imported into the waterways in the 1950s.