Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Eagles have Landed

They are back. The two bald eagles who call this tree home, near the waterfront in Vanier Park, have returned from wherever they spent the winter, which is probably Brackendale, just north of Vancouver.

It is home to the largest gathering of bald eagles in North America and around four thousand eagles arrive there in November, remaining until mid February. This area is a particularly good source of salmon for them, as they come to feed on the dying fish who have spawned in the local streams and rivers.

I need a camera with a more powerful zoom! Trust me, they are there: one on the left and one near the top, in the centre. Click to enlarge. Do you think they have quarreled? You can also see the very large nest which has been there for many years. Once the tree comes into leaf we see neither the nest nor the eagles as we pass by this spot regularly on our Thursday walk.

A short YouTube video of some bald eagles at Brackendale, taken in the winter of 2008.

Interesting bald eagle facts for your enjoyment (taken from here)

The bald eagle – or Haliaeetus leucocephalus – is the only eagle unique to North America and covers most of the continent from Alaska and Canada to northern Mexico. Their diet consists mainly of fish of which they consume nearly a pound a day.

The world population of bald eagles is 70,000, of which BC is home to 20,000 of the birds.

Bald eagles have an impressive wingspan of 6 to 8 feet, mate for life, and can reach the age of forty years.

Eagles fly at 50 kilometres/hour (31 miles/hour) and dive at an incredible speed of 160 kilometres/hour (100 miles/hour).

Bald eagles see 8 times better than humans.

Only two decades ago the eagles were near extinction. Populations are healthier now due to increased restrictions on DDT and other pesticide use.


Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Wonderful post! I have loved eagles for 50 years and can not get enough of seeing and hearing about them. My home is filled with prints of eagles on the walls of every room. Thank you!

CherryPie said...

The title made me think of Lord of the Rings!

How wonderful for them to have returned. Love the photo too!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Thanks for this delightful post. Good to know that at least this pair is doing well. Please do consider getting a more powerful lens! :)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

It does look as if they've had a bit of a barney! Great that they are back.

Liz said...

Lovely post about a fabulous bird. We got so excited each time we saw one when we were in the Rockies.

Wolfie said...

I do hope this is a sign, a good sign that is.

Dr.John said...

When we lived in Crystal Falls I used to take a canoe from the Church camp out to the third lake where there was a big eagle's nest to see the eagles. They are so beautiful.
Thank you for sharing.

jmb said...

Glad you enjoyed it Nick. I love them too, although we do see them a lot around here.

Thanks Cherie. Lord of the Rings? Interesting.

Hi LGS, I would love to get a more powerful camera, since this one won't take an attachment but can't quite justify it as yet.

We were very happy to see that they had returned Welshcakes.

We see them a lot Liz but I never get tired of them.

Let's assume so Wolfie.

Dr John the nests can be really quite big, aren't they?

Thanks to everyone for visiting and commenting.

Carver said...

Great post JMB. I'm the same way about needing a more powerful zoom to photograph birds more effectively. There are bald eagles at a preserve not too far from me that return each year to nest, but I've never managed to photograph them.

Anonymous said...

Its great how the eagles are recovering a good environmental story. Lets hope for more!