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Bald Eagle

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This distinctive large bird is often seen soaring or perched on trees and casts a substantial shadow if it flies above you. It is the largest predatory bird seen on the Fraser River delta, with a wingspan of two meters (6’8”).

Juveniles are dark with white mottling, and adults have dark bodies, a white head and tail, and bright yellow beak and legs. They are uncommon in summer, fairly common in winter, and breed on Fraser River delta.

In a 2000-2001 study of raptor abundance on agricultural land during the winter months, Bald Eagles were the most commonly sighted raptor in Delta. They are opportunistic feeders, using multiple methods including hunting, stealing, and coming across already dead animals; in Delta they eat fish and waterfowl. When waterfowl are feeding on Winter Cover Crops, they may become a meal for a hunting Bald Eagle.

Eagles also feed on garbage at the Delta Municipal Landfill, and use the landfill site as a warm, disturbance-free resting place.

Bald Eagles build the largest nest of any bird in North America. They reuse the same nest year after year, and for multiple generations, and adding to it each nesting season until it reaches huge dimensions- up to three by six meters (10' by 20').

Photo by David Shackleton

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