This young female bald eagle was treated at Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society’s (MARS) facility in Merville. File photo/Campbell River Mirror

Eagles congregate around Salish Sea for one last feast before period of famine

Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society preparing to receive birds in need of care

An annual congregation of eagles along the shores of the Salish Sea has begun as the iconic bird seeks out one last abundant food source and a hospitable climate to wait out a period of famine.

This congregation in the Salish Sea (Georgia Strait, Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca) is the largest congregation of eagles in the world, according to Warren Warttig, president of Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS).

It is estimated that 70 per cent of all of the eagles on the west coast of North America migrate to and stay in the Salish Sea from late November to mid-February. The reason for this is that the Salish Sea offers a relatively mild climate, some prolific chum runs in December, and some of the earliest herring spawns in mid to late February, Warttig says in a press release. Coincidentally, about 70 per cent of British Columbia’s and Washington’s population live within five km of the Salish Sea, which often puts incredible pressure on the availability of adequate nesting habitat for eagles.

After fattening up on the late December chum runs, there is little food available for eagles until the herring show up in February. It is during this fasting period when a high percentage of fledgling eagles have a very hard time surviving.

MARS Wildlife Rescue received close to 50 eagles last year of which the majority were the younger eagles unable to endure the fasting period between December and February. MARS will soon have an adequately-sized flight cage to house the eagles (scheduled to be completed on or before Jan. 15).

RELATED: Major donation leads to completion of flight pen at Wildlife Rescue centre in Merville

Meanwhile, MARS Wildlife Rescue faces a similar fasting scenario that the eagles do. Donations can be good in December, but fall off dramatically in January and February. It is this period when they experience high financial demands to care for eagles and the organization asks that you think of them over the next three months.

You may not have known this, but the end of October to the end of February is the best time to trim your hedges. This period is the least likely to disturb nesting song birds (which are illegal to disturb). Each year MARS Wildlife Rescue receives dozens of little fledglings because of people pruning during bird nesting season.

RELATED: MARS invites public to see results of its support

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cowichan Valley residents can help mark World Alzheimer’s Month

Two-part online discussion series called “Demystifying advocacy” on Sept. 28 and 29

Island Corridor launches survey to determine importance of Vancouver Island rail line

“ICF remains 100 per cent committed to the restoration of full rail service on Vancouver Island”

Who’s running in Cowichan?

A list of Cowichan candidates for the upcoming provincial election

Cowichan Aquatic Centre will reopen on Oct. 13

But facility will only be open on a limited basis for time being

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Island RCMP remind drivers not to text after 19 tickets handed out in 90 minutes

The $368 fines were handed out Tuesday on Norwell Drive and Old Island Highway in Nanaimo

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Three years for serial bank robber who hit southern Vancouver Island branch

Lucas Bradwell was wanted for robberies in Abbotsford, Sidney and Vancouver

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Penticton woman sentenced to one year in prison for manslaughter of teen boyfriend

Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

B.C. Green leader says NDP abandoning environmental plan

Horgan’s claim of unstable government false, Furstenau says

Most Read