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Viewing Bald Eagles - Brackendale
by Nathan and Auntie Karen

 

Photo credit: Patricia Heintzman


The eagle festival in January is centred around the Brackendale Art Gallery


 

 

Activity: Last December Dad finally took us up to Brackendale to see the Bald Eagles lining the trees on the shore of the Squamish River.  What a sight!  Some trees had 6 or 7 white headed eagles in them.  We counted over 60 eagles before we gave up.  There's thousands of eagles in the area and apparently they're attracted by the abundance of spawning salmon.  We saw two eagles tearing apart a salmon on the shore of the river.  In January, there's a month long eagle festival which is centred around the Brackendale Art gallery with a photo contest, eagle art show, and eagle tours.  The most important thing to remember: your BINOCULARS.

Age group: All ages

Expense rating: FREE

:  Eagles - huge birds of prey, the national emblem of our neighbours to the south.  Did you know that Ben Franklin originally proposed the Wild Turkey over the Bald Eagle?

Details: Eagles can be viewed from the Tenderfoot Creek Fish hatchery in the Cheakamus Valley down to the Squamish Estuary near downtown Squamish.  The eagles start arriving in mid November and stay until mid February, with the largest concentration in late December to January.  The most popular viewpoint is the Eagle Viewing Dike across from the Easter Seal Camp between Squamish and Brackendale.  To get there:

1. Go past the McDonald's Restaurant at Squamish, and continue north along Highway 99 towards Whistler.

2. Go past the 1st stop light, and continue on to the 2nd stop light on the highway.  The cross road should be Garibaldi Way.

3. Take a left at this intersection.

4. Go for about a block and you will come to a "T" intersection.

5. Go right on Government Road, and follow the road for about 1/4 mile.

6. You will see an Easter Seal Camp on your right.

7. Look left, and you should see the dike and Eagle viewing shelter.

For more information and an eagle viewing map, visit the Visitor Information Centre (phone (604) 892-9244) in downtown Squamish.  For information on activities of the Brackendale Winter Eagle festival, call the Brackendale Art Gallery at (604) 898-3333.  Website: www.brackendaleartgallery.com, www.brackendaleeagles.com

Area:Squamish/Brackendale

Season:Winter

Educational highlights:  On January 9, 1994, Brackendale set the world record count for bald eagles with more than 3,766 sightings.  Did you know that eagles see 8 times better than people (hence the saying "eagle-eyed").  Eagles can spot a rabbit running on the ground from two miles away!

Fun for the adult?: It's pretty impressive when you're out in the wild and you see just one eagle.  Imagine seeing fifty eagles all at the same time.  That's what happened to us when we visited Brackendale five years ago.  And that's why this event always makes our top pick for January.






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