Bald Eagle Viewing at Brackendale, BC
By Murray Lundberg and Ellen Scott
Brackendale, British Columbia, Canada, had the highest concentration of overwintering Bald Eagles in
North America in 1994 when 3,701 eagles where counted in one day along the 15 kilometre
stretch of the Squamish Valley. They congregate here at the junction of Howe Sound and of
three rivers and other smaller tributaries, the Cheakamus, the Mamquam and the Squamish,
to feed from the spawning salmon. The mature trees, mixtures of fir, cedar, hemlock and
skeletal deciduous trees, provide marvelous roosting spots for the eagles to regard their
dinner in a mostly protected area.
Yet another tree loaded with sociable eagles, both adult and juvenile. Click to enlarge.
Brackendale, a residential area of Squamish,
is on the West Coast of Canada, in the province of British Columbia. The drive north is
about an hour from Vancouver. The area adjoins a region known as the Sunshine Coast but don't let this fool you.
The best time to see the eagles is during the winter, particularly from mid-December through January, and during this period, the weather can be cold and very wet, both from rain and snow. If you go, be sure to bring waterproof and warm clothing.
The best viewing of the eagles is along the Cheakamus River near Brackendale. It
is a protected area and little foot traffic is allowed so take a raft trip down the river
to see the magnificent eagles. It is the least obtrusive way of viewing them, not to
mention a terrific ride. Among the tour operators who offer this opportunity is the Sunwolf Outdoor Centre.
Sunwolf also has refurbished cabins along the river shore, with gas fireplaces that take away the chill of the rafting experience. The staff offers excellent
eagle natural history and native interpretation, and there are plenty of other bird
watching opportunities as well, as the gravel bars in the river are a haven for overwintering shore and water birds.
All photographs are © 1998-2009 by Murray Lundberg, and are not to be copied or reproduced in any form without permission.
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