Count reveals more eagles

Count reveals more eagles in North Okanagan

More majestic birds observed in annual Swan and Eagle Count

Vernon Morning Star StaffJan. 22, 2019

Eagle numbers have soared to new heights in the North Okanagan.

The Vernon area recently completed the 39th annual count for swans and 25th annual count for eagles with a total of 210 eagles counted – substantially more than typical of years past.

“It may have been the single largest tally of eagles that we’ve ever had, certainly in the past decade anyways,” said Aaron Deans, terrestrial ecologist.

Dean said 30 per cent of these were immature birds and a majority of all eagles observed were concentrated adjacent to several chicken farm operations in Armstrong and Grindrod.

“Evidently, these farms have grown in size during the past few years and it appeared the timing of cleaning out offal from the barns coincided well with the count day,” said Deans.

A total of 22 observers took part in the 2019 count on Jan. 13, complete with seven routes around Vernon and the North Okanagan.

Temperatures ranged from -7 to a mild 2C. Patches of low fog occurred in areas on an otherwise calm and mostly overcast day throughout the region.

“Lots of open water throughout the region presented swans that were more dispersed than normal,” said Deans. “Even the north end of Otter Lake had open water and swans dabbling this year.”

Participants counted a total of 117 trumpeter swans, which is up a little from the past year but still represented by a relatively low proportion of juveniles with 13 per cent of those observed cygnets.

“Thanks again to all those that participated,” said Deans.