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Urban Bald Eagles in Vancouver

bald eagle stanley parkIn the 1960s only two pairs of bald eagles were nesting in the City of Vancouver – one pair in Stanley Park and one near UBC. Stanley Park Ecology Society used to monitor 18 bald eagle nests throughout Vancouver, but is now monitoring only the nests of Stanley Park.

These large aerial predators nest in the forests of Stanley Park, in large trees on the waterfront, and in some distinctly urban locations. From their nests they overlook soccer and baseball games, arts venues, parking lots, picnics, houses, streets, and beaches.

Much of a young urban eaglet’s diet consists of other birds. The feathers and bones of crows, gulls and pigeons are regularly found beneath nests along with varying amounts of waterfowl, mammals, crabs and fish. While not all nests are currently active, most have successfully produced offspring in recent years.

Find the SPES 2018 bald eagle report for Stanley Park here.

Eagle nesting calendar

December – February

Bald eagles in the Vancouver area re-establish territories and return to their old nest sites.

March – April

Usually 2 eggs are laid in a nest that can be between 2 – 3m across and weigh between 200 – 900kgs.

April – May

Hatching starts after a 36-day incubation period. If two or more eggs hatch, usually the more aggressive chick takes most of the food and is the only one to survive. If there is a lot of food then all of the chicks may reach fledging age.

May – July

Hunting, eaglet feeding and eaglet brooding duties are shared by both parents until the young are strong enough to fly. At about 12 weeks of age they fledge (leave) the nest.

August – October

Shortly after fledging, the young eagles begin independent life. Many adults and juveniles move to nearby rivers (and the associated fish runs) for a stable food source.