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Wonders of the Wild
Bald Eagles





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campbellrivertourism - Flickriver

A Celebration of Eagles and Other Birds of Flight

Bald Eagle in Flight

The Bald Eagle, also known as Haliaeetus Leucocephalus, is just one of 150 bird species known to inhabit the lands and shores of Vancouver Island. An estimate of the mid-winter population for the province of BC is between 20,000 and 30,000 birds. On the coast, Bald Eagles make their nest near the seashore, in estuaries, and at the mouths of rivers and creeks. Nests are usually placed in coniferous tree crotches, on branches next to the trunk, occasionally on branches a short distance from the trunk, or near the crown of the tree. These nests are very large, sometimes measuring up to six feet in width and weighing hundreds of pounds. Most nest sites have an unobstructed view of the surrounding area, and a food source is usually nearby. Along the coast, most nests are within 100 metres of the shore.

The Bald Eagle is primarily a scavenger rather than a predator, and subsists on fish including spawning salmon, "herring balls" and surface feeding fishes. It occasionally makes it's own kills, and, when fish are not available, it may take a few birds.

A mature eagle is characterized by a heavy yellow bill, large powerful talons and white head and tail feathers which take about four years to attain. Adult males have a body length of 75-85 cm (2-3 feet) and a wingspan of 180-213 cm (6-7 feet). The female is slightly larger. The call of the eagle is distinguishable by squeaky cackling with this squeals. Life span is not known but it is estimated to be approximately 50 years.

Bald Eagle

In this region, the Kwakwala word for Eagle is Kwikw. In ceremonies, Eagle down is used for blessing the Big House or blessing a totem pole. It is also used for a peace dance called Kla'sa'lah. In this dance the Eagle down is put on top of the headdress. It is also believed that the Eagle has supernatural powers; he is a leader of the wild beings of the woods, a watchman, a guider and a protector of predators.

In addition to eagles, other seabirds commonly seen along the shore include the Great Blue Heron, Kingfisher, Pigeon Guillemont, Marbled Murrelet, Black Oyster Catcher, Double-Creasted Cormorant, Surf Scooter, Common Terns and of course, the Seagull.

On land and into the alpine environment one can view woodpeckers, vultures, ravens, grouse, Whiskey Jacks and Stellar Jays.



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