Bald eagles are the queens of the universe on the West Coast. You may recognize an adult bald eagle by its white head and white tail: babies and adolescents are a speckled brown colour until they reach the age of five when the white appears. They are huge birds and when you get up close to one it's hard to come to grips with how big and muscular they are. Here are the stats: up to 40 inches tall, wingspans up to 5 feet 6 inches, weight up to 15 pounds, life span up to 30 years in the wild. Females are about 25% bigger than the males. Living mainly on a diet of fish, we've seen these birds pluck a seagull and take it home to dine on. We have a nest in our backyard and our mornings are spent with coffee at the beach watching the eagles. Even though they are large predatory birds that doesn't stop the crows from chasing it if they feel and eagle has come too close to their nests. The crows dive bomb the eagles and the eagles don't seem to care one way or another.
Here's a mudflat story: down with my dog on the beach having coffee. A river otter comes to shore about 20 feet up from us with a fish in its mouth and begins to walk up onto the beach. My dog raises her head, the otter sees that and takes off back into the water swimming out to the deep. We think it has dropped the fish in the shallow water so we walk up to see. As we are standing there looking at a half eaten fish about six feet out from shore in the shallow water, we hear a big burst of air and an eagle swoops down, picks up the fish and flies away with it. We were both shocked and jumped and then I realized that we have seen something amazing — something that makes this west coast such a unique experience from anywhere else in the world.
Come and visit Ucluelet Wild Pacific and be the star in your own West Coast adventure story!
These eagles photographs are courtesy of Tofino Photography.
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