They are beautiful, regal birds with an astonishing wingspan of up to 8 feet. And, while seeing one on its own is a remarkable sight to behold, seeing a convocation of the soaring raptors is truly spectacular.
What's more, British Columbia is home to the largest bald eagle gathering on the globe. In fact, Vancouverites won't have to travel far to see one of the most awe-inspiring spectacles in the animal kingdom.
The congregation takes places in November, when thousands of eagles make their way to the place where the Fraser River and Harrison River meet.
A company called Fraser River Safari Jet Boat Tours allows guests to experience the wilderness up close and personal from the comfort of a custom designed “safari craft.”
Their Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival Tours, for example, take you into the Chehalis/Harrison Estuary and up close to the hundreds, even thousands of eagles that return each November.
The Fraser River is a whopping 850 miles long and is the largest producer of sockeye salmon in the world. As such, the eagles migrate great distances to feast on the five species of salmon that are spawning during the fall.
Not unlike whopping cranes, mute swans, and scarlet macaws, bald eagles mate for life. While they were once considered an endangered species, conservation efforts have helped this majestic species make an incredible recovery.
"Forty years ago, our national symbol was in danger of extinction throughout most of its range. Habitat destruction and degradation, illegal shooting, and the contamination of its food source, largely as a consequence of DDT, decimated the eagle population, " reads the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"Habitat protection afforded by the Endangered Species Act, the federal government’s banning of DDT, and conservation actions taken by the American public have helped bald eagles make a remarkable recovery."