Tips to Make the Most of Eagle Season
Tips to Make the Most of Eagle Season
On January 9, 1994, a world record of 3,769 bald eagles were counted at the annual Brackendale Winter Eagle Count. Since then an average of 1300 eagles are counted in Squamish year after year. Learn how you can make the most of eagle season in Squamish with these great tips.
1. Know When to Look
- Early morning: when eagles are searching for food after a long, cold night.
- Mid-afternoon: (Between 2:30 and 3:30) when eagles leave their feeding areas for their roosting spots to settle in for the night.
2. Know Where to Look
- Check the trees: Eagles spend most of their time roosting in tall trees.
- Visit Eagle Run Dyke on weekends: EagleWatch volunteers are onsite from 10 am - 3 pm between November 9 and January 4 with spotting scopes for viewing and cell phone photography.
Inside Information: After the world record-eagle count, Thor Froslev of the Brackendale Art Gallery and friend Len Goldsmith conceived the idea of establishing an eagle reserve in Brackendale. In October 1996, the 755 hectare Brackendale Eagle Reserve, now a Provincial Park, was approved as a protected area.
3. Be an Ethical Eagle Observer
Ethical eagle viewing ensures the Squamish eagles come back year after year. Follow these viewing practices to keep eagle populations alive and well.
- Keep your distance: Do not approach an eagle you see feeding on the shore. An eagle who is forced to leave its food may not return to it, and it needs to conserve energy to survive the winter.
- Do not use drones: Use binoculars or telephoto lenses to get a closer look.
- Stay on the dykes: Please do not walk on the gravel bars or private land.
- Keep dogs on a leash: Do not let dogs chase wildlife.
4. Attend an Eagle Viewing Event
Photo: Garry Broeckling
Brackendale Eagle Festival: Celebrate the 35th annual Brackendale Eagle Festival, a month-long festival featuring a special line-up of concerts, lecture series, art shows, group tours, and the annual Bald Eagle Count held on the first Sunday in January.
EagleWatch Weekend Info Sessions: Learn more about eagles from our local experts. Volunteer interpreters with high-power spotting scopes and adapters for cell phone photography will be at the Eagle Run viewing shelter on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am - 3 pm between November 9 and mid-January, as well as through Christmas Week.
5. Book a Guided Tour
There are plenty of ways to view the Squamish eagles, and a guided tour is the best way to maximize your sightings and explore some of Squamish's most exclusive eagle viewing locations. This season there are four different tour formats available. Choose from eagle viewing via horseback, raft, bike or on foot.
Photo: Squamish Rafting
Eagle floats are an absolute must-do during eagle season. Local rivers are calm throughout the winter so you can sit at ease, camera in hand as your guide rows downriver. Keep your eyes wide for Squamish views like the Stawamus Chief and Mount Garibaldi seen from an entirely new perspective. Along the way, learn the local lore and plenty of information about the eagle's population. At the end of the tour enjoy a warm hearty meal.
Many of the eagle's favourite roosting locations are high in the trees alongside some of Squamish's most picturesque trails. Pedal around town and follow your knowledgable guide as they lead you to the best eagle viewing spots on a relaxed bike tour that will teach you all about eagles and the role they play in the local ecosystem.
Operator: Ride BC (e-bikes and mountain bikes)
View the Squamish eagles from the saddle of a horse as you enjoy a riverside trail ride in one of Squamish's densest eagle habitation areas. The 1-hour ride includes plenty of breaks where you can learn about eagles and snap some photos to remember your day.
Operator: Cheekye Ranch
Let a local guide show you around one of Squamish's most exclusive viewing locations on a walking tour to spot bald eagles in their natural habitat. Your riverside walk features incredible views of the Cheakamus River, Tantalus Mountain Range and finishes off with a warm drink by the fire.
Operator: Mountain Skills Academy & Adventures