Mark November 17 and 18 for the eagles – the Harrison – Chehalis Eagles. This is our annual Eagle Festival and this year the north is definitely starting to freeze up early – this should drive the eagles south in big numbers. Also this year there will be another newcomer to the Harrison – Jo & Rob have sold the Fraser River Safari Tours and a new chap, Liam Sullivan, has purchased it. I met him a week ago and he has been brought up in the area and loves it as much as the rest of us keeners.
I spoke with him yesterday and he passed the Harrison the day before and thought that there might already be a couple of hundred eagles on the flats – that is a lot for so early but all our resident eagles are back guarding their territories. Those who already watch the cams know that our new South Surrey Reserve cam, the two new CAMS sponsored by the Dawson & Sawyer developers, already has had the two adults checking it out. We can hope.
If you are going to get out on the river this season book early with Liam. I will be aboard as guide if enough people request it.
Contact: Liam Sullivan – 604 348-6877 – [email protected]
So below are two reminders of the Festival. If any of you can re-direct the PR announcement around to others or for that matter point people to the little video of a previous year’s eagle release – please do so.
This PR Release will be going out to 75+ northwest media. Please spread it around!
World Record Number of Bald Eagles: at Harrison Mills, BC Oct 22, 2018
2018 is expected to be a year when the bald eagles congregate in extra large numbers on the Chehalis – Harrison Flats.
The Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival at Harrison Mills at the confluence of the Chehalis and Harrison Rivers has become the most famous and reliable place to see bald eagles in the entire world. In December of 2010, 7362 bald eagles were counted in a 4 k section of this area. Over 10,000 were estimated to be in the annual Festival count area from Harrison Bay northward along the Harrison River to the Chehalis Flats. Now annually 10,000 to 15,000 eagles visit the Harrison.
The eagles start to move into our area as soon as the dead salmon carcasses begin to appear in October. The Bald Eagle Festival during the third weekend of November matches the buildup which peaks in December and wanes, as the salmon carcasses are eaten out, through January and February. What really drives the eagles to our area is the freezing up of the northern rivers – the eagles can’t get at the dead salmon under the ice. Southward the eagles come by the thousands and our incredibly productive Chehalis – Harrison River complex provides food for thousands of eagles, usually for months. It is estimated over 35,000 eagle’s winter in the lower Fraser Valley each winter.
Other adult eagles return to be closer to their breeding territories in southern BC and Washington State. Over 480 nesting pairs have been located of the more than 600 pairs believed to nest in the lower Fraser Valley. So, this tiny urban-suburban region of Southern British Columbia hosts not just the highest breeding density but also the largest wintering population of bald eagles.
Our Festival coincides with the arrival of the big eagle migration. From the three major viewing sites along Morris Valley Road, north off Highway 7 at the Sasquatch Inn, Tapadera Camp site, Eagle Point Observatory Park and the Sandpiper Golf Course which houses a spectacular Bald Eagle Observatory, the eagles can be viewed by the public. Starting about this same time the Fraser River Safari Tours offers frequent tours up the Harrison River from Kilby that enable viewers to see the great concentrations from closer-up and to visit the bigger eagle concentration areas not visible from the western shoreline points.
So many people still have not seen an eagle – yet during our fall salmon runs it is possible to frequently see several thousand in a single day and from a single location. We encourage you to attend the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival, see the Sts’ailes First Nations dancers and crafts, view our eagles, attend lectures on local wildlife and view all the related booths at the Festival outreach centers. When you fall in love with our eagles you will be on the path to wanting to develop a sustainable world.
David Hancock, Wildlife Biologist
Hancock Wildlife Foundation/Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival.