The Eagle Has Landed In Squamish, BC
Are you in need of a getaway but short on time? Remember sometimes to see something wild and exciting may be no more than a few hours away. Too we often overlook our own backyard when we think of travel. Yes, travelling the world to see exotic animals or view birds can be thrilling and sometimes nature’s marvels are close to home. Watching eagles in their natural habitat is one of those world class adventures that you can see right here in BC! Did you know that Squamish, BC holds a world record for wintering eagles?
Every year over 3,000 bald eagles return to Squamish to winter because of the coast’s ideal habitat. Our large and mature coastal forest provides an ideal environment for perching and roosting of these large and impressive birds. Coastal waterways in the Squamish area are rich with spawning salmon, an essential food source for these birds. The eagles begin to arrive in the area in November and stay until early February when the salmon finish spawning.
In the summer time I often see eagles soaring overhead and enjoy watching them glide through blue skies. Most often they are too far way to take a picture of, which is why I think taking this tour would be an ideal way to see them up close. Bald eagles are easily recognizable by their white head, brown body and hooked yellow beak.
Having grown up in California, I always admired the bald eagle as the nation’s emblem. The bald eagle was proposed in 1872 and adopted in 1878 as the national emblem for the USA. Since Roman times, the bald eagle been associated with authority and governmental power making it the ideal choice. Soon after the eagle was adopted by the US Congress as the national emblem, an olive branch and arrows were added to the eagle’s talons to represent peace and war, respectively.
Below are some interesting facts about bald eagles:
- Flight Speed: Mature eagles can fly at speeds of 30 to 50 km per hour and dive at speeds of 120 to 160 km per hour.
- Flight Height: Bald eagles can soar from 10,000 to 15,000 feet and can glide on warm up drafts for hours.
- The Eagle’s Eye: An eagle’s eyesight is 4 times that of humans and they have both monocular & binocular colour vision. This allows them to spot prey from a mile away. Eagles can fly can at night but their vision is not as accurate in the dark.
- Height & Weight: Adult eagles can reach up to 100 cm or 3.3 feet tall and can weigh between 3- 6 kg or 6.6- 13 lbs. Females are larger than males.
- Food: Eagles eat fish & small mammals, consuming up to 1/10th of their body weight per day.
- Physical Structure: The eagle bones are hollow and half the weight of the feathers. Over 7000 lightweight and waterproof feathers cover an eagles body.
- Longevity & Breeding: Eagles live up to 20 – 30 years in the wild and mating pairs bond for life. Eagles usually lay 2 to 3 eggs per nest, but it is unlikely all will survive. The young, called Eaglets leave the nest between 10 to 12 weeks.
So come along with Wells Gray Tours to see these magnificent birds of prey that live among us.
Written by: Joan Niemeier