The bald eagle is common all along the Northwest Coast, while the golden eagle lives mainly in mountainous regions. Eagles are large birds of prey with impressive hunting and fishing skills.
Eagle is one of the most important beings in the art and mythology of the Northwest Coast. It is respected for its intelligence and power, as well as its extraordinary vision, in both the literal and figurative senses. Eagles in myth are, likewise, usually noble characters. Eagle spirits are associated with lofty ideals and the pursuit of freedom.
On the Northwest Coast, the Killer Whale also referred to as blackfish, is an important crest figure among local First Nations Groups and is one of the most commonly depicted forms. The very first Killer Whales came into being when carved in wood by a human, Raven, or a Master Carpenter and then magically infused with a life force. Killer Whales are known to capsize canoes and carry the occupants into the depths. In many of these stories, the kidnapped human is given great wealth. Killer Whales are also known to guide people to safety when caught in stormy weather.
Bear is one of the most prevalent figures in crest and shamanic art, as well as in myths. It is considered to be a close relation of human-kind, perhaps because of physical characteristics such as size, appearance, and expression, and behaviours such as standing on two hind legs, gathering plants and berries, fishing and nurturing young.