Once the northern rivers’ fish supply is frozen up, eagles will fly thousands of miles a day to reach the Chehalis Flats for dead salmon snacks. (David Hancock file photo)

Once the northern rivers’ fish supply is frozen up, eagles will fly thousands of miles a day to reach the Chehalis Flats for dead salmon snacks. (David Hancock file photo)

Thousands of eagles to return to Fraser Valley

Eagle biologist David Hancock says in the 1960s, he counted only three nesting pairs in the valley

South Surrey eagle biologist David Hancock says every day for the next two months, hundreds of bald eagles will be returning to the Fraser Valley.

It’s a dramatic comparison to when Hancock, the founder of the Hancock Wildlife Foundation, began researching the birds in the 1960s.

Hancock told Peace Arch News Sunday that in the ’60s, he counted only three nesting pairs in the valley.

“Local eagles had been defined as ‘vermin’ and were regularly shot – particularly by Americans who got $2 for each pair of eagle legs. Eagles only became icons of good when Rachel Carson led the world in an educational campaign against pesticides and changed our attitude towards predators at all the same time. It took the eagles 20 years to believe we could be trusted neighbours,” Hancock wrote to PAN.

Today, Hancock estimates that there are 19 nests in Vancouver, more than 80 in Delta, and 43 in Surrey.

“I have identified over 480 nesting territories in the valley but expect there are well over 550 pairs nesting between Vancouver and Hope,” Hancock wrote.

SEE ALSO: $5,000 offered to person who cut down prominent South Surrey eagle nest tree

Yesterday, Hancock counted between 500 to 550 eagles at Harrison and Chehalis rivers.

“With the cold weather north of us I expect we could see 200 to 500 per day arriving through November and December. Now the southern challenge is will our reduced spawning fish stock be able to feed them. The key is about 35,000 eagle migrants are on their way south looking for a free dinner.”

Residents in White Rock, South Surrey and Delta can keep track of locally nesting eagles. Hancock has installed cameras on a number of nests throughout the area, which can be found here.

The 24th annual Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival is to take place Nov. 16-17 at Harrison Mills.

More information on the event can be found at http://fraservalleybaldeaglefestival.ca/

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Photo by Dale Klippenstein
Suspect tries to thwart police in Abbotsford with false 911 call about men with guns

Man twice sped away from officers and then tried to throw them off his trail

Phyllis Stenson, a mainstay of the local arts scene and the Harrison Festival of the Arts, passed away earlier this month. Stenson was crucial in setting up the foundation for relationships, funding and more that continue even now to echo well past her retirement in 2013. (Contributed Photo/Harrison Festival Society)
Harrison Festival, Fraser Valley arts icon Phyllis Stenson mourned

Stenson passed away in late November, leaving lasting legacy of passion for the arts behind

The Mission Christmas Bureau will run from Dec. 7-18. The bureau’s Wish Campaign has a long way to go to reach the $110,000 fundraising goal. / Submitted Photo
VIDEOS: Mission Christmas Bureau a long way from fundraising goal

This year the needs within the community are greater than ever due to Covid-19

The westbound lanes of Highway 1 between Clearbrook and McCallum roads were closed to traffic Wednesday morning after a fatal collision involving a pedestrian.
Pedestrian dies after being struck by vehicle on Highway 1 in Abbotsford

Collision takes place early Wednesday morning between Clearbrook and McCallum roads

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)
Non-profit buys Chinook ranch in hopes of increasing feed for southern resident killer whales

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon

Gaming content was big on YouTube in 2020. (Black Press Media files)
What did Canadians watch on Youtube during isolation? Workouts, bird feeders

Whether it was getting fit or ‘speaking moistly,’ Canadians had time to spare this year

Most Read