We went to the Chilcotin Region, west-central British Columbia last fall to photograph Grizzlies, and again discovered that Bald Eagles were equally interested in the salmon run. It was difficult to decide whether to point your camera at the grizzlies, or the eagles. Both were entertaining, and numerous.
|"The salmon was this BIG!"|
Proper Name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Diet: carnivore; particularly fish, but are known to eat small birds, rodents
and dead meat
Wing Span: 6 to 8 ft (1.8 to 2.4 m)
Body Size: 34 to 43 in (86 to 109 cm)
Height: 75 to 100 cm
Weight: 6.5 to 14 lbs (3 to 6.5 kg); males about 25% smaller (3 to 4 kg)
than females (4.5 to 6.5 kg)
Lifespan: ~20-30 years
Habitat: lakes, rivers and coastlines with nearby forests
Range: Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico on both sides of the Rockies
For the long migrations south, Bald Eagles congregate where the salmon spawn. They stay for as long as they need to top up their protein reserves.
|Juvenile Eagle between bites|
|Don't even try ... this one is mine!|
|Eagle starting to do the "Salmon Dance"|
With one meal done, it's back to tree-tops to look for the next course.
|It's takes a long runway to get airborne with a full-stomach|
|Keeping an eye on the river below while relaxing in the sun|
|Much better visibility from an old snag|
|Yea, yea ... I know that I don't blend into the autumn colours very well|
Once a salmon is in sight, it's time to get airborne, and this is easily done from the tree-tops..
|Diving from the treetops is the fun part!|
|It's fun to fly low so that just your wingtips graze the water's surface|
Being a Bald Eagle looks like a lot of fun between eating fresh salmon sushi and the flying. However, they still have to watch out for food that is tainted with pollutants, such as DDT, mercury, heavy metals and long-lasting organic chemicals, and of course, the occasional human who uses them for target practice.
What a beautiful bird to watch in the great outdoors!