This young female bald eagle was treated at Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society’s (MARS) facility in Merville. File photo/Campbell River Mirror

This young female bald eagle was treated at Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society’s (MARS) facility in Merville. File photo/Campbell River Mirror

Eagles congregate around Salish Sea for one last feast before period of famine

Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society preparing to receive birds in need of care

An annual congregation of eagles along the shores of the Salish Sea has begun as the iconic bird seeks out one last abundant food source and a hospitable climate to wait out a period of famine.

This congregation in the Salish Sea (Georgia Strait, Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca) is the largest congregation of eagles in the world, according to Warren Warttig, president of Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS).

It is estimated that 70 per cent of all of the eagles on the west coast of North America migrate to and stay in the Salish Sea from late November to mid-February. The reason for this is that the Salish Sea offers a relatively mild climate, some prolific chum runs in December, and some of the earliest herring spawns in mid to late February, Warttig says in a press release. Coincidentally, about 70 per cent of British Columbia’s and Washington’s population live within five km of the Salish Sea, which often puts incredible pressure on the availability of adequate nesting habitat for eagles.

After fattening up on the late December chum runs, there is little food available for eagles until the herring show up in February. It is during this fasting period when a high percentage of fledgling eagles have a very hard time surviving.

MARS Wildlife Rescue received close to 50 eagles last year of which the majority were the younger eagles unable to endure the fasting period between December and February. MARS will soon have an adequately-sized flight cage to house the eagles (scheduled to be completed on or before Jan. 15).

RELATED: Major donation leads to completion of flight pen at Wildlife Rescue centre in Merville

Meanwhile, MARS Wildlife Rescue faces a similar fasting scenario that the eagles do. Donations can be good in December, but fall off dramatically in January and February. It is this period when they experience high financial demands to care for eagles and the organization asks that you think of them over the next three months.

You may not have known this, but the end of October to the end of February is the best time to trim your hedges. This period is the least likely to disturb nesting song birds (which are illegal to disturb). Each year MARS Wildlife Rescue receives dozens of little fledglings because of people pruning during bird nesting season.

RELATED: MARS invites public to see results of its support

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Workers prepare to take down 28 large trees on private property on Mill Bay Road this week after they were intentionally poisoned almost two years ago. (Submitted photo)
Still no charges over poisoning of trees in Mill Bay

It’s been almost two years since incident involving 28 large trees

Cory Harrington has been found. (Submitted photo)
Missing Lake Cowichan man located

Cory Harrington was last seen on Dec. 11

Alistair MacGregor will have Pharmacare on his mind for a Thursday, Jan. 21 virtual town hall. (Photo by Lexi Bainas/Cowichan Valley Citizen)
Cowichan MP hosting town hall on universal pharmacare

“Pharmacare for All: A Prescription for Your Wallet”

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

Egg producers in B.C. aren’t obligated to reveal their production sites. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Not enough local eggs to meet demand: officials

BC Egg Marketing Board doesn’t regulate labelling

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nanaimo RCMP are investigating after a threat was made at Woodgrove Centre on Tuesday, Jan. 19. (News Bulletin file photo)
Threat directed at Nanaimo mall, RCMP investigating

Police have searched areas of Woodgrove Centre accessible to shoppers and have deemed it safe

A pinniped was attacked by an unseen predator off the shores of Dallas Road Monday night. (Courtesy of Steffani Cameron)
VIDEO: Seal hunting a fish off Dallas Road sparks social media debate

Victoria woman captures footage of pinniped activity off Dallas Road

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau vows to keep up the fight to sway U.S. on merits of Keystone XL pipeline

Canada’s pitch to the Biden team has framed Keystone XL as a more environmentally friendly project than original

The British Columbia Hotel Association (BCHA) sent out a sharply worded release late last week, in which it noted that the Tourism Industry Association of BC recently obtained a ‘legal opinion’ on the matter (Alex Passini photo)
Hotel associations push back against any potential ban on inter-provincial, non-essential travel restrictions

B.C. Premier John Horgan is seeking legal advice on banning non-essential travel

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
COVID rapid tests in long-term care key during vaccine rollout: B.C. care providers

‘Getting kits into the hands of care providers should be a top priority,’ says former Health Minister

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. turns to second doses of COVID-19 vaccine as supplies slow

Pfizer shipments down until February, to be made up in March

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
No Pfizer vaccines arriving in Canada next week; feds still expect 4M doses by end of March

More cases of U.K. variant, South African variant found in Canada

Most Read