Feed The Eagles
You will sea eagles in many places around Langkawi. After all the name of the island has been given after the reddish brown eagle. Helang in Malay means Eagle and Kawi is reddish brown color. The reddish brown eagles (also known as Brahminy Kites) are the most common form of eagles that you will find here. You will also see many White Bellied Sea Eagles in Langkawi as well which are larger in size.
The main feeding areas of the reddish brown eagles is at the Kilim River area at the north eastern end which is part of the Kilim Geopark and also the water area near the island Pulau Singa Besar located just south of the main island. It is a spectacular sight where large number of eagles circle the sky and dive into the river to catch their food. You will watch this for about 20 minutes while sitting in the boat.
When you reach the calm water area surrounded by dense forests, the boatman shuts down the engine to eliminate the noise, goes to the backside of the boat with a bag full of chicken skins and starts throwing the pieces into the water.
The eagles here seem to know when a boat is around they would have a feast on offering. Look at the sky and you will see many eagles circling. And then they will start swooping down to catch their food floating on the water and take off in split seconds.
Watch them carefully... as soon as they grab the chicken skins with their claws, they start eating it on the flight itself leaving no chance for their competitors to take share.
The eagles have terrific eyesight and can actually pin point a target such as a fish from a distance of 1 - 3 km. When they dive, they can move at a speed of 200 km per hour and pick up a prey which may be up to 3 kg, more than their own weight.
While feeding, at any point of time you will see 30-40 eagles hovering in the sky and swooping down as soon as they identify their targets. Eagle population in the Kilim Geopark has been steadily in the rise. There are now over 500 wild eagles in this area. In Pulau Singa Besar, about 300 to 400 eagles feed in the morning.
Most of these eagles have got used to the engine sound of the boats. In fact the revving of the motor probably acts an appetizer for them. However, January to March is probably not the right time to come here for watching eagle feeding because that is the time for the eagles to nest and breed.
How to see Eagle Feeding
There are two ways you can see Eagle feeding in Langkawi:
1) Take the Island Hopping Boat tour which covers eagle feeding at Pulau Singa Besar or,
2) Take the KML Island Cruise Mangrove Boat Tour from the Kilim Jetty or Tanjung Rhu.
Alternatively you can take a boat from the Kilim Jetty and reach the feeding area in about 10 minutes from the jetty. The boatman or the guide needs to carry a bag full of food for the eagles. The feeding takes place in a calm water area which is protected by islands like Pulau Anak Kilim, Pulau Tanggkok and also by the dense mangrove forests on the shores.