Feeding grounds abandoned as bald eagles search for salmon

Wildlife News

Poor chum runs are behind the low number of raptors, observers say

Tens of thousands of bald eagles that usually gorge on the late-season chum salmon in rivers from Alaska to Vancouver have been forced from their usual feeding grounds by poor salmon runs, according to wildlife biologist David Hancock.

While the Brackendale eagle count registered only 627 birds in 2010 -- its fourth consecutive year under 1,000 after peaking at nearly 4,000 in 1994 -- Chehalis (Harrison) attracted a record 7,400 eagles, more than double the normal count due to a moderately successful coho run.

The disappointing numbers at Brackendale are only a microcosm of what is going on up and down the coast, said Hancock. As many as 50,000 eagles are searching for food and may range as far as the Mississippi River to find it.

Based on a count he conducted Monday, Hancock reckons that as many as 800 eagles are feeding at Boundary Bay and the Vancouver Landfill in Delta. ...

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Poor chum runs are behind the low number of raptors, observers say

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