What will happen to eagles?

Wildlife News

Council to consider emergency ordinance extending feedings


As Homer mourns the loss of Jean Keene, "The Eagle Lady," the Homer City Council on Monday considers an issue raised by her death on Jan. 13: What to do about the bald eagles she had started to feed this winter?

Last week, City Manager Walt Wrede granted a 10-day and then a three-day extension to Steve Tarola, a friend of Jean Keene, to feed eagles at Keene's Homer Spit cabin. That extension ends Monday.


Photo by Michael Armstrong

Photographers watch bald eagles at Jean Keene's cabin on the Homer Spit on Tuesday afternoon.

In an emergency ordinance introduced by Mayor James Hornaday and all six council members, Tarola or a designated assistant would be authorized to feed eagles until March 27 or until the eagles disperse naturally. To pass, the ordinance requires a yes vote from all council members attending. There is no second reading or public hearing for the emergency ordinance, although citizens can speak on the matter at the beginning of the regular council meeting.

Supporting language in the ordinance cites concerns by biologists that stopping feeding could cause more harm than good.

"It's obvious we have an emergency situation regarding the feeding of eagles," said Councilmember Dennis Novak. "We're dealing with it."

Novak and council member Bryan Zak said all six members agree with the emergency ordinance and are expected to vote in favor.

"This is pretty much a done deal. Everybody's on board," Novak said.

A Boston photographer and doctor, Don Montemorra, urged the council to pass the ordinance.

"Had we all had the privilege of Jean being with us for several more months (or, more preferably, several more years), the issue of feeding would not have been raised at all," he wrote in a letter to the council. "Extending the feeding for a few additional months seems to be a rather small concession, the right solution for a situation created by humans and certainly something that I would imagine Jean would have wanted."

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