Wednesday, November 16, 2011 has again set the record for the number of eagles visiting our lower mainland. Over 1285 Bald Eagles today were feasting on a record number of spawned out salmon carcasses along the Harrison River. Eagle biologist David Hancock, of the Hancock Wildlife Foundation and the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival, today found record numbers of eagles already accumulating on the local rivers due to our record number of locally spawning salmon and the lack of spawning salmon in the northern British Columbia and southeasterb Alaska rivers.
Last year in early December the lack of chum salmon up the entire coast drove eagles southward to find food. A record number of just over 7300 bald eagles had accumulated at the mouth of the Chehalis -- and this is probably the largest number of eagles ever seen at one location anywhere in the world. Hancock described this as a biological wonder equaling that of the Serengeti migrations at the local level.
This year we are having earlier record numbers of eagles appearing on the Harrison River complex. This year's Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival -- this Saturday and Sunday -- at the Harrison will obviously have record numbers of eagles for the visitors to see.
The Harrison -- Chehalis Rivers has been defined by the US premier fisheries conservation society as Canada's most important fish river. This system not only houses large quantities of all 5 salmon species, steelhead and two trout species but the alluvial fan flowing out of the surrounding mountains also provides incredible nutrients to support thousands of ducks, geese and swans. This total wildlife concentration is an incredible richness for our local viewing audience.
At this time the Fisheries biologists report all five salmon are presently spawning -- including over 600,000 sockeye salmon and thousands of coho and chum salmon. This is the highest number of sockeye ever recorded in the Harrison system. The scavenging eagles, gulls, waterfowl and ancient sturgeons are feasting. Please join us at the Festival this weekend.
The Festival details of viewing locations, First Nations events, boat tours and lectures etc. are available at: http://fraservalleybaldeaglefestival.ca/
PS: For detailed interviews with biologist David Hancock call: 604-761-1025
For details on the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival call: Toll free 1-866-348-6877
Hancock Wildlife Foundation