The annual eagle count in Brackendale, BC takes place on Jan. 1 of each new year. The 2011 numbers are in. From the January 2011 Eagle Count Results page,
Everything is not OK.
For those who think that the huge Sockeye run on the Fraser means all is well with our salmon, think again. Yes, there were huge returns on this one run on this one river in this one year but it really only points our how hopelessly out of touch we are with what is happening out there. No one seems to know why this has happened.
What we do know is that the Eagles follow the food and this year there has been plenty to eat where the Sockeye spawned and died so it has been a banner year for Eagles in the Fraser Valley.
Here not so much. Here there have been two small Coho runs. The Chum run, which is the Eagles’ main food source, seems to have failed to materialize in any appreciable way and we can only speculate why this is so.
Perhaps it is Global Warming or Climate Change or El Niño. Perhaps it is over-fishing and fisheries mismanagement or perhaps it is the giant sodium hydroxide spill CN sent down our river not so long ago. Or fish farms with their diseases, sea lice infestations, chemicals and pollution affecting the fry as they migrate up the coast and out to sea. Perhaps it is all of these.
Results for the 25th Silver Anniversary Brackendale Winter Eagle Count and the previous 25 years are posted here. This year the count total was 627, a far cry from 3769 in 1994. That being said, there were fish in the Squamish system earlier in November and there were more Eagles here then. And the Fraser has been a huge boon for the Eagles meaning that more young birds will survive the winter. We do not know what will happen next year and that is why the Eagle Count is so important.
The eagle count is part of the Brackendale Winter Eagle Festival put on every year by the Brackendale Art Gallery. There are more events planned for January 2011. Here’s a sampling of two:
Sun. Jan. 9th 8 pm (by donation)
Power Point / Video presentation: The Bald Eagle and other local wildlife in video and in real life.
David pioneered the broadcast of live-cam signals from bald eagle nests, and with additional transmissions from underwater cams and intertidal cams. From these selections he will explore the normally unseen biology of the creatures we so love.
David Hancock has spent most of his life studying west coast and arctic wildlife. He has published scientific and popular books and papers on whales, seals, seabirds, grouse and his speciality, the northern raptors. Prior to starting Hancock House Publishers he was a pilot and wildlife film producer — again specializing in the native cultures and wildlife of the coast and north. He recently completed a book on eagles, The Bald Eagle of Alaska, BC and Washington and another book on the northwest coast Indians, Tlingit: Their Art and Culture. As well, he has a book on the Alaska-Yukon wildflowers nearing press. Currently he is undertaking studies of the bald eagles along the northwest coast and working on a sandhill crane breeding project.
Sun. Jan. 23rd 8 pm (by donation)
Dr. Daniel Pauly
Principal Investigator, Sea Around Us Project
UBC Fisheries Centre Director, November 2003 – October 2008Master (1974), Doctorate (1979) and ‘Habilitation’ (1985) in Fisheries Biology and Biological Oceanography (University of Kiel, Germany).
Dr. Daniel Pauly is a French citizen who completed his high school and university studies in Germany; his doctorate (1979) and habilitation (1985) are in Fisheries Biology, from the University of Kiel. After many years at the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM), in Manila, Philippines, Daniel Pauly became in 1994 Professor at the Fisheries Centre of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, of which he was the Director for 5 years (Nov. ’03-Oct. ’08). Since 1999, he is also Principal Investigator of the Sea Around Us Project (see www.seaaroundus.org), funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, Philadelphia, and devoted to studying, documenting and promoting policies to mitigate the impact of fisheries on the world’s marine ecosystems.
It’s a very eclectic festival featuring art work and performances in addition to the lectures. Here’s an interview with Thor, one of the festival’s originators,
I did briefly comment last year about the Brackendale event as a form of participatory science (my Jan. 22, 2010 posting). This year the festival and count celebrate a 25th anniversary.