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Have You Been Getting Our Eagles?

A query from David Hancock

I am wondering if anybody down through the Mississippi have been or are receiving more eagles than usual this winter .

With the major loss of spawning salmon this fall throughout the BC coast and apparently the AK coast as well, I am wondering if any extra eagles are showing up through the inter-mountain states or down the Mississippi.

With over 7000 eagles, a record number, showing up here on the Chehalis in December, yet within a week dropping to only 348, it begs the question - where are they all going?

Of course we are concerned about the 20,000 + or - that probably pass this area annually.

Any thoughts on this?

Again, thanks for your continued support.


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Join David on a Year's End River Tour

Hancock here -- another Harrison River Tour -- Dec 31.

I doubt we will still see the 6000 to 7500 bald eagles we saw three weeks ago. However, we are very likely to see 1000+ eagles.  It all depends upon how many salmon carcasses are still available.

Jo-Anne and Rob Chadwick of Fraser River Safari Tours are going to make another boat tour from Kilby on the banks of the Harrison River -- FRIDAY, December 31, 11:00 am -- a wonderful way to end the year. 

The total tour will be from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. -- so you have lots of time for celebrating the New Year!!

Call Jo at 604-826-7361 or toll free 1-866-348-6877 to book or visit their web site at

I hope to see you there.

Happy festive season.

David Hancock

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The Eagles Have Done It Again

Hancock here AGAIN. The Eagles are still coming!!

Today, Saturday Dec. 11, 2010, was an incredible day of bald eagle watching. By noon there were still more than 6000 eagles on the flats feeding, in the surrounding trees and flying overhead.  It was a truly wondrous site - something few living humans have ever witnessed before.

 Why are more bald eagles gathered and still daily increasing in numbers along the Chehalis - Harrison River complex? The simple answer is that the Harrison system is having a reasonably good return of spawning salmon and a major number of the northern and mid-coast rivers of British Columbia, where normally the eagles would be feeding, have had devastatingly low salmon returns and the eagles have come here by default.

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Where are the bald eagle cams at Chehalis this year?

Posted on behalf of David Hancock:

With all the media attention on this record breaking number of bald eagles here in the Fraser Valley on the Chehalis/Harrison river estuary, we've been asked "why don't we have even one Chehalis cam running  -- with 5000 eagles out there"?  Well it is dollars.  $6-7,000 is needed immediately and at least $2-3,000 more to keep it running for a couple of months.  And perhaps someone with $10,000 to spare will give a call.

The equipment for the platform is all ready and waiting for delivery. We need transportation out to the platform plus money for fuel for the fuel cell and for the server and network infrastructure at the base station. The previous base system has been re-located to another site and is in use, and we need to do some changes to be able to get at the equipment without going into the regional district's pump house; a new, external enclosure for the equipment.

604-538-1114 or 800-938-1114

Thank you.

Karen Bills                                                                                                                                                          Project Coordinator for HWF

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CTV news story re 4000 bald eagles at Chehalis today

Hancock here:

The eagles did it again.  About 4000 eagles appeared at the Chehalis - Harrison confluence today  -- what an incredibly beautiful day and abundance of eagles.

The numbers were slightly down from last weekend when we estimated about 5500 eagles seen from the tour boat.  Today the clear weather, slight breeze and the abundance of dead salmon probably encouraged the eagles to soar early. 

The eagles start to feed at daybreak and  by 10 a.m. start to soar, but still about 1500 were on the beaches and another 2000 in the surrounding trees along the Harrison and probably 500 were seen constantly soaring over the hills -- and our boat.  Another 2000 to probably 3000 would have already taken to soaring and drifting to neighboring areas.

Well do I remember being on the Chehalis Flat at 10 a.m. one early, similar, December morning about 3 years ago and witnessing the early morning departure.  By 9:30 a.m. thousands of eagles were already flying to gain access to the rising air over the neighboring hills.  These columns of eagles went upward 500, 1000, 2000 ft. and many soaring upward of 5000 feet.  One of the three columns of eagles drifted south to the US border and probably the Skagit River, one drifted more westward towards Vancouver and the third column drifted higher and northwest --- probably heading to Brackendale for lunch. By 10AM most of the eagles had dispersed to all points of the compass.

Today the pattern was less organized.  By 12:00 noon the soaring eagles were dispersed and soaring over all the surrounding hills but fortunately for us 2500 were evident on the gravel bars, sitting in the surrounding trees and flying over our boat -- the Fraser River Safari Tour boat.  What an incredible biological event.  Today's guests included the CTV film crew that film our adventures -- and they gave a fine biological account on the 6PM news. Thanks Brent.  The story should be on the local CTV news at 11:30 this evening also.

For those wanting to take in the last tour this year -- scheduled for next Saturday, Dec. 11  -- contact Jo-Anne and Rob Chadwick at Fraser River Safari tours  at  604-826-7361 or 1-866-348-6877.  This is the world's densest concentration of eagles ever amassed -- you don't want to miss one of the world's greatest natural events.

Since one of the world's finest nature photographers was also aboard, Glen Browning, I suspect when he has a chance to edit the thousands of shots he took today, some will appear on our site -- probably in the Media Gallery under his name.

See you Saturday.

David Hancock

If you missed the CTV newscast here's the link to watch it online as reported by reporter Brent Shearer.




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