Example: [Collected via e-mail, December 2009]
Origins: The photographs displayed above are genuine, although they're often accompanied by text that places them in the wrong locale, and they don't depict a site that hungry eagles just happened to stumble upon where they found friendly locals willing to feed them.
These pictures were taken in Homer, Alaska, at a designated eagle feeding area near the (former) residence of Jean Keene, commonly known as that state's
She started feeding the eagles in the late 1970s, when she was working at a fish-processing plant called Icicle Seafoods, located on the narrow spit of land that juts into the Kachemak Bay. Every day she would chop hundreds of pounds of salmon heads and tails, as well as cod and herring, most of it spoiled or freezer-burned, and toss it to the predatory birds.
The eagles' wintertime arrival and the woman feeding them on the pebbly beach outside her tiny trailer attracted photographers to Homer from throughout the country. As a Washington Post reporter put it in 2005, "If you have seen stunning
"Jean never once sought publicity or attention for feeding the eagles," Anderson said. "She was generous to everyone who was interested in photographing the
Criticism of the eagle-feeding efforts flared up around Homer in 2004 after photo guides and lodge owners began duplicating Keene's program, attracting eagles for the benefit of their clients.
Critics said it was demeaning to turn the national bird into a Dumpster diver. They said crowding eagles was unhealthy, threatened smaller birds and pets and drew eagles away from their natural wintering grounds. Government biologists frowned on the practice but stopped short of calling for regulation.
Supporters called such complaints unproven and noted the practice drew tourists to town in a quiet time of year. Photographers lavished praise on the gritty Keene.
"Homer was exactly the right place for Jean Keene, because she was a character," said Ginkowski. "You don't see those originals much any more."
Last updated: 30 August 2015
Kizzia, Tom "Homer's 'Eagle Lady' Dead at 85." Anchorage Daily News. 15 January 2009. Anchorage Daily News. "Homer's Eagle Lady." 1 January 2009. Los Angeles Times. "Jean Keene, Alaska's 'Eagle Lady,' Dies at 85." 20 January 2009.