Today I did a couple of ‘normal things,’ I checked about 27 nests in my region. Nine had at least 1 adult nearby holding what I took to be the territory. The other 18 had no observable adult as I passed by. This is basically about right – if about 75% of the adults are back from migration you would expect about 40 – 50% to have an adult present at any visit – even though you are speaking of occupied nests.

But more interesting, I visited the Vancouver Landfill – and only counted 16 eagles, 12 of which were adults. I would take this adult population to be entirely made up of local residents. No migrants had yet arrived. The few sub-adults were likely all local born individuals following the ancient pathways.

So, in spite of having 400 pounds of fresh spawned out (by the hatchery!) salmon on board, I did not see enough places to put fish that they would be readily seen. I was intending to start baiting them in for trapping and putting on transmitters. Certainly, my hope this early in the year was to catch local breeders or their previous offspring. This latter group, juveniles produced from Fraser Valley nests, is more a guess than a fact delineated by our previous tracking records. But I think these early returning sub-adults are more likely birds born in the area than from nests more than 300 miles away.

So my day was saying Hi to favorite nests, placing a fish offering in hopes of a local adult finding a free meal – and being more amenable to taking another offering I might offer when I had placed a trapping option with the bait. A slow start to the new season but an important one. Also, I have to balance out leaving ‘coyote’ food as opposed to eagle food.

What was also exciting was the presence in the Valley of several thousand snow geese – quite early for their arrival from Russia. No swans yet. And most importantly, I do not think any of the northern breeding eagles have yet made it here. The north is still unfrozen and offering them spawned out salmon.

Keep watching!
David