Bald Eagles Come to Vancouver

They may not have chosen the prettiest spot . . . but the bald eagles have landed in Vancouver.   Up to a thousand of the iconic raptors have congregated near the Vancouver Landfill, in the suburb of Delta, according to a recent article in the Vancouver Sun.

The eagles have staked out the less-than-picturesque turf because of below normal salmon runs on the rivers where they normally feed.  So rather than flocking to their usual spots – along rivers in Brackendale or Squamish, for instance – they chose the dump.   Since late December, the majestic birds have been battling it out with seagulls for tasty morsels.

If you’re interested in eagle watching – but not too keen on visiting the landfill – consider heading to nearby Boundary Bay Regional Park in Delta.    The 89-hectare park located off of Highway 99 is an internationally recognized bird sanctuary.   It provides a critical rest stop for thousands of birds migrating along the Pacific corridor.

Photo Credit: CanadaGood on Flickr

A network of trails wind along the shoreline of Boundary Bay.  At low tide, the bay drains and you can walk out to explore the tidal pools and hopefully catch a glimpse of a few eagles up close.  Just be sure not to wander too far, as the mist rising from the bay can actually obscure the shore.

Of course, it’s important to mention that the presence of so many eagles in Vancouver – while a stunning sight to see – is causing concern among environmentalists.  Despite the record salmon runs this year, not enough chum salmon are returning up river for the eagles to feast on.  As a result, the birds are forced to find their protein at the landfill.  Contrary to perception, eagles are primarily scavengers by nature, not hunters:  Dumpster diving turns out to be not that different from feeding on chum salmon who have come up river to spawn and die.

Has anyone seen any of the thousands of eagles migrating through Vancouver?  Any suggestions on good spots for eagle viewing?

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