The annual Brackendale Winter Eagle Count fluttered back into town for the 2023 season.
Volunteers suited up early on Sunday, Jan. 8, at the Brackendale Art Gallery to receive their assignment areas for the count. About 45 volunteers joined this year, which was on par with the number of volunteers last year.
The volunteers travelled to regions around Squamish, Brackendale, Paradise Valley, Squamish Valley and more where they tallied as many eagles as they could find.
Last year the annual count saw a severe winter weather storm, so the count was delayed by a week. But this year, there was no winter storm; volunteers were treated to clouds and fog with on-and-off rain throughout the day.
By the end of the day, the volunteers had counted approximately 916 eagles throughout all areas: 667 adults, 242 juveniles and seven unclassified.
Compared to 2022, the count was much higher as the 2022 count recorded 799 eagles. In 2022, however, there were a few areas that couldn’t be accessed due to heavy snow.
In other recent years, the Brackendale Winter Eagle Count has tallied 848, 747, 1,157 and 961 in 2021, 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively.
All of these recent counts pale in comparison to the 1994 count, which saw 3,769. The 1994 count was part of a run of 16 years between 1992 and 2007 that saw at least 1,300 each year, with several years seeing over 2,000 eagles.
The count’s data goes as far back as 1986 and can be found on the website of the Squamish Environment Society. For more information about this year’s count or to see past years, visit their website at SquamishEnvironment.ca.