Eagle numbers soar

Eagle numbers soar in annual North Okanagan bird count
Ben Bulmer
InfoTel News
January 18, 2019 - 7:30 AM

VERNON - It appears that 2019 is a bumper year for eagles living in the North Okanagan.

The North Okanagan Naturalists Club annual Swan & Eagle Count recorded the highest number of eagles spotted in a decade, and possibly the highest number ever seen in the 25 years the annual eagle count has been running for.

Twenty-two volunteer ornithologists headed out to seven different routes around the North Okanagan Jan. 13 and spotted a total of 210 eagles - a number the group says is significantly higher than last year. It also appears that those eagles living in the North Okanagan have a fondness for chicken. A media release from the group says the majority of the eagles counted were located around several large chicken farms located in Armstrong and Grindrod. The club says the timing of the annual count day appears to have coincided with the cleaning out of offal from the barns attracting a large number of eagles.

Of the 210 eagles counted on Jan. 13, 208 were bald eagles with two golden eagles also spotted. Around 30 per cent of the eagles spotted were immature birds.

This year's event marks the 39th year of counting swans with numbers up slightly over last year with 117 trumpeter swans recorded in total. The club says the number of juveniles counted only made up for 13 per cent, a relatively low proportion of all the swans counted. The mild winter and lack of frozen water also meant the swans were more dispersed this year than normal.

The North Okanagan Naturalists Club counted the birds in seven different areas around the North Okanagan with the vast majority of both swans and eagles being spotted between Vernon and Sicamous, with high concentrations in the Lumby, Enderby and Mabel Lake area.