Raptor Capital of Canada
Most people traveling the lower Fraser Valley are instantly impressed by the large number of bald eagles viewed along the roads and waterfront areas or impressed by their huge nests silhouetting the skyline from tree or hydro tower. Many people report seeing over 500 eagles in one day. Even people who “don’t regularly see birds” see the plethora of bald eagles. On a January day, in one hour within 1 kilometer of Highway 99 along Boundary Bay, 1862 bald eagles were counted. Over 400 active bald eagle nest territories currently are located in the lower Fraser Valley, with 77 and 38 respectively residing in Delta and Surrey, probably the World’s two cities sharing the largest number of nesting bald eagles. Just 60 miles up the Fraser Valley at the junction with the Harrison River is the world’s largest annual gathering of bald eagles, sometimes more than 10,000 on three miles of the river. Probably over 35,000 bald eagles traverse the lower Fraser each year. Even a few golden eagles hunt the Boundary Bay farmlands each fall and winter. The Hancock Wildlife Foundation BETA Project is aimed at tracking the comings and goings of these eagles and our live streaming cams reveal intimate details of our nesting local Delta bald eagles.
On the same drive through the lower Fraser farmland or housing tracks you are likely to see many red-tail and rough-legged hawks sitting on light poles, numerous northern harriers coursing the road edge, and if you are lucky you might see a more secretive coopers, sharp-shinned or gos hawk flitting across the road. Certainly a peregrine falcon or two can be seen all winter hunting the shorebirds of Boundary Bay and possibly a gyr or even a prairie falcon or merlin might get on your list working the same area. Many waterways are shared with osprey and turkey vultures now also soar the region year round. During the day you can also find a short-eared owl sitting on a post and every few winters we are blessed with one to a few dozens of snowy owls and on any evening you might see a great-horned owl, spotted owl or a barn owl swoop past the head lights, flash bye as a road kill! or see them respectively peer over the edge of a red-tail or bald eagle nest or from an artificial nest box. Spectacular little kestrels both nest and winter here. Another half a dozen nocturnal and diurnal raptors nest in or pass through the valley.
The lower Fraser River delta region is a world class raptor hangout. Join the movement to get this recognized.