The Preferred Food Of Bald Eagles In Knox, Maine? Compost!
Yup, you read that right. If you were to take a drive right now to the Waldo County town of Knox, and head over to Kinney Compost, probably the first thing you might notice, aside from the smell of fresh compost, is that bald eagles are everywhere. And not just a handful, sometimes there can be 30 or 40.
Compost gets a bad rep sometimes, because while it is a wonderful source of nutrients for the soil when gardening, it's not quite the same thing as fertilizer, in the technical sense. There's not specifically manure in compost, so it's not as poopy as people think. But the eagles love it because it's chock-o-bock full of fish scraps.
Think about your own little compost bin at home. Sure, there's some dirt in there, but it's mostly table scraps and food prep scraps. So these eagles are actually getting a gourmet meal that they really don't have to work too hard for. Ducktrap salmon scraps are brought to this spot, so it's basically become a bald eagle's smorgasbord.
Gwen Kinney, one of the owners of Kinney Compost said this to the BDN recently:
We started with two to four couples. There are times when we see 30 to 40 eagles out there or around. They know where we are, and they like the salmon. They spread it all over the place. Then the little birds come and pick it up.
Imagine the sight of it all. It's also a popular attraction in it's own way. People often grab their lunch and park at the church nearby, where they can watch the eagles scarfing down their lunch, while the gawkers scarf down theirs. It sounds like a great way to kill some time to me. I want to go down right now!
Avian Haven, a bird rehabber nearby, also like to use the spot to release rehabbed eagles. That way, they can be around other birds and reacclimate a bit easier, being around their own kind. It's all very fascinating. To think that a compost pile is such an integral part of a local food chain.
So if you're looking for a spot to go take in the sights and sounds of eagles, this sounds like the place. Granted, respect needs to be paid to the area, so as not to disturb them, but I remember as a kid, eagles were hardly anywhere. But now, they're in big numbers over in the compost pile, just in case you're looking for them.