5 Places to See Eagles in BC

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You don’t have to be an avid birdwatcher to feel the thrill of spotting majestic bald eagles in British Columbia. Look for them sitting tall on the tree-lined shores of rivers, circling the skies, or swooping down to feast on spawned salmon.

Whether you want to see them close up (bring binoculars and a telephoto lens) or you just want to catch a glimpse of their glory, here are five places to visit.

Brackendale Eagle viewing shelter | Ian Roberts/Tourism Squamish

Brackendale, north of Squamish

Just north of Squamish on the Sea-to-Sky Highway, the community of Brackendale is an easy place to head to watch eagles near Vancouver. Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park lies in the Squamish River watershed, and the Squamish River Valley is one of the most significant areas of wintering bald eagles in North America. Viewing peaks from mid-November to mid-December, and eagles may be present through to mid-January.

The park is closed to the public for eagle conservation between November and March, but eagle viewing can be enjoyed from areas just outside its boundaries. The Eagle Run viewing shelter offers a prime location. Or, from November until February, take a guided eagle float tour down the Squamish and Mamquam rivers through Canadian Outback Rafting or Squamish Rafting Company.

The annual Brackendale Eagle Festival runs the month of January with lectures, live music, art shows, community festivities, and an eagle count.

On the water | D. Chan

Harrison Mills, Fraser Valley

Only 90 minutes east of Vancouver in the Fraser Valley, the pretty town of Harrison Mills is home to the largest gathering of wintering eagles in the world. Learn more about these creatures during the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival, which takes place annually in the third weekend of November.

The valley hosts over 250 pairs of nesting bald eagles, and thousands more migrate here over the winter. Look for them from mid October to late January. Fraser River Safari offers boat tours that get you close to the salmon-spawning action.

BOUNDARY BAY, METRO VANCOUVER

Located in South Delta, Boundary Bay Regional Park is a year-round birding hot-spot. Located halfway between Siberia and South America, the park is part of the Pacific Flyway. It’s the wintering home for tens of thousands of shorebirds, merlins, peregrines, and gyr falcons. Eagles can be spotted here all winter and into the summer.

The park is mostly wheelchair accessible.

Pacific Northwest Raptors, Cowichan Valley | Tourism Vancouver/Jordan Dyck

Victoria and Cowichan, Vancouver Island

A short drive from downtown Victoria, Goldstream Provincial Park is famous for its annual salmon run; bald eagles follow from November to January.

An hour north of Victoria in CowichanThe Raptors is a great place to learn about eagles and other birds of prey. Resident eagles, owls, hawks, and falcons let you get up close with hands-on programs.

Kermode (Spirit) bear in the Great Bear Rainforest | Stephen Harrington/All Canada Photos

The Great Bear Rainforest, central and northern BC

This vast area of pristine wilderness—about the size of Ireland—stretches along the central and northern coast of British Columbia, from Knight Inlet to the Alaska Panhandle. Both bears and eagles follow the salmon runs to a feast.

Peak eagle viewing here is in July and August, spread out over the rivers. Entry points to the Great Bear Rainforest include Bella Coola, Prince Rupert, and excursions from northern Vancouver Island, where eagles are also abundant year-round.

Opening image: Eagle | Tourism Squamish

POSTED BY: Carolyn Ali

From: Vancouver
Raised in Vancouver, Carolyn Ali seeks out the offbeat. She is always up for a new experience, from climbing an ice tower near Kelowna to tracking down the latest on BC’s craft beer scene. Previously the travel and food editor at Vancouver’s Georgia Straight, Carolyn is a Destination BC staffer and an award-winning freelance writer.

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