Located off the Sea-to-Sky Highway, just North of Squamish, is the small but pleasant town of Brackendale. While it's a good rest stop on the way to or from Whistler, it's the winter residents that make Brackendale spectacular. Under the moniker, "The winter home of the Bald Eagle," Brackendale holds the world record for the largest congregation of wintering Bald Eagles. The eagles come to feast on the Chum Salmon that return each winter to their spawning grounds up the Squamish River Valley. Ironically, it's the lucky ones that die on the river banks after successfully completing the tenuous journey to spawn. The unlucky ones are eaten by bears or other predators before reaching their destination. The rotting salmon carcasses make for an easy meal for the eagles ,which come in the thousands (as in, over 3,000).
The eagles' habitat is protected within Brackendale Eagle Provincial Park, ensuring that this spectacular display of nature is undisturbed by humans. Most of the Provincial Park is inaccessible, but that doesn't mean there aren't ample opportunities for prime eagle viewing. Eagle Run Park is located within Brackendale, but provides a view of the river and the eagles against the dramatic backdrop of the neighbouring Tantalus Provincial Park. The best time to view the eagles is from mid-November to mid-January. Make sure to pack your camera and binoculars!
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