On a recent trip to Vancouver, on the west coast of Canada, I saw more Bald Eagles than I ever even imagined was possible! I’ve decided to dedicate a post to these spectacular eagles and to do a 2nd post that will cover the rest of my trip.
North 40 Off-Leash Dog Park
Before the trip, I saw a photograph on Instagram of a tree in a dog park (yes, a dog park) with about 12 Bald Eagles perching on its branches. I thought that would be a pretty cool thing to see and I was told by various Vancouver-based wildlife photographers that this dog park was the place to go for Bald Eagles. (Thanks @monischrei, @wmckenziephotography and @edkroc for the tips)
The North 40 off-leash dog park is in Delta, an area about a 30 minute drive south of downtown Vancouver. My boyfriend and I decided that for fun we would count the number of Bald Eagles we saw soaring overhead on the drive, but we soon realized there were just too many to keep track of! Before we even arrived at the dog park, our count was over 40.
Still, I was not prepared for the eagle mania that welcomed us when we got out of the car. There wasn’t just one tree full of eagles, there were many many trees with eagles! You could stand on the main path into the dog park and take shot after shot of the eagles flying overhead (I took 3000 shots to be exact!).
The Sound of Hundreds of Eagles
Do you know what a Bald Eagle call sounds like? I certainly had no idea until I arrived in Delta. At first we weren’t sure what was making the eerie screeching sounds we could hear all around the dog park. It sounded like a horse under duress! But we quickly realized it had to be the Bald Eagles.
Turn your sound up to listen for yourself:
A friend told me that in Hollywood movies, they actually dub over the Bald Eagle’s strange screeching with the mightier call of a Red-tailed Hawk! This article has a funny comparison of the two calls.
If the dog park wasn’t spectacle enough, we continued driving south on the 72 and soon came to a turf farm with even more Bald Eagles! There were Bald Eagles perched all down the sides of the field. The houses in this area had eagles perched on their roofs. There were literally Bald Eagles everywhere you looked. It was eagle mania!
The eagles even made the news. This is a pretty cool clip that’s worth a watch.
Why So Many Bald Eagles?
According to the wildlife photographers I spoke with, these Bald Eagles come to this spot every winter, but this year there were many more than usual! I read in the news one theory that high water in November blew the salmon out of the rivers so food supplies were lower than usual. The Bald Eagles discovered this spot in Delta as a secondary food source.
There’s an organic composting facility and a landfill in the area so plenty of food options for the Bald Eagles.
So how many eagles did we see that day? Our conservative estimate was somewhere around the 500 mark!