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

Just Posted

Nurses at the Cowichan District Hospital are thanking the community for following the health protocols during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Pictured from left are nurses Jacqueline Kendall, Melissa Bustard and Heidi Ferris. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Pandemic year like no other, Cowichan nurses say

May 10-16 is National Nursing Week

Island Health’s new Wellness and Recovery Centre at 5878 York Rd. is now planned to be open in the fall. (File photo)
Wellness and Recovery Centre now to open in the fall

Three community dialogues scheduled for May

B.C. Centre for Disease Control data showing new cases by local health area for the week of May 2-8. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island COVID-19 local case counts the lowest they’ve been all year

On some areas of Island, more than 60 per cent of adults have received a vaccine dose

A nurse gets a swab ready to perform a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Island’s daily COVID-19 case count drops below 10 for just the second time in 2021

Province reports 8 new COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island Wednesday

Before you take on a pet, make sure you want to have it for life. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Editorial: A pet is a lifetime commitment

Tons of people are getting pets during the pandemic, some for the first time

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking on a remote forest road in Naramata on May 10. (Submitted)
Kamloops brothers identified as pair found dead near Penticton

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

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

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Canada’s demo Hornet soars over the Strait of Georgia near Comox. The F-18 demo team is returning to the Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Sgt. Robert Bottrill/DND
F-18 flight demo team returning to Vancouver Island for spring training

The team will be in the Comox Valley area from May 16 to 24

Saanich police and a coroner investigated a fatal crash in the 5200-block of West Saanich Road on Feb. 4, 2021. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Police determine speed, impairment not factors in fatal Greater Victoria crash

Driver who died veered across centre line into oncoming traffic for unknown reason, police say

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Bow-legged bear returns to Ladysmith, has an appointment with the vet

Brown Drive Park closed as conservation officers search for her after she returned from relocation

Most Read