World Record Number of Bald Eagles: at Harrison Mills, BC
Friday, September 14 2012 @ 07:13 PM EDT
Contributed by: davidh
The Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival at Harrison Mills, at the confluence of the Chehalis and Harrison Rivers, has become the most famous and reliable place to see bald eagles in the entire world. In December of 2010 7,362 bald eagles were counted in a small section of this area. Over 10,000 were estimated to be in the normal Festival count area from Harrison Bay northward along the Harrison River to the Chehalis Flats. This incredible world record aggregation of a large predator is an annual event.
The eagles start to move into our area as soon as the dead salmon carcasses begin to appear in October. The Bald Eagle Festival weekend in November matches the build-up which peaks in December and wanes, as the salmon carcasses are eaten out, through January and February. What really drives the eagles to our area is the freezing up of the northern rivers – the eagles can’t get at the dead salmon under the ice. Southward the eagles come by the thousands and our incredibly productive Chehalis – Harrison River complex provides food for thousands of eagles, usually for months. Other adult eagles return to be closer to their breeding territories in southern BC and Washington State. Over 370 pairs of eagles now nest in the lower Fraser Valley.
Our Festival coincides with the arrival of the big eagle migration. From the three major viewing sites along Morris Valley Road, north off Highway 7 at the Sasquatch Inn, Tapadera Estates, Eagle Point Community Park and the Sandpiper Golf Course, the eagles can be viewed by the public. Starting about this same time the Fraser River Safari Tours offer frequent tours up the Harrison River from Kilby that enable viewers to see the great concentrations from closer up - and to visit the bigger eagle concentration areas not visible from the shoreline points.
So many people still have not seen an eagle – yet during our fall salmon runs it is possible to frequently see several thousand in a single day and from a single location. We encourage you to attend the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival, see the Sts'ailes First Nation dancers and crafts, view our eagles, attend lectures on local wildlife and view all the related booths at the Festival outreach centers. When you fall in love with our eagles you will be on the path to wanting to develop a sustainable world.
David Hancock, Wildlife Biologist
See Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival details and events at: www.fraservalleybaldeaglefestival.ca