B.C. eagle count hits record low in 30-year history

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      Each year, hundreds—sometimes thousands—of bald eagles converge on rivers in Brackendale to feed on spawning salmon.

      This year, B.C. Wildlife Services, the Squamish Estuary Conservation Society, and the Brackendale Art Gallery Society conducted their 30th annual Brackendale Winter Eagle Count, which has been monitoring the eagle population in the area.

      This year's count, 411, was the lowest ever since the count started in 1986. There were 261 adults, 149 juveniles, and one unclassified eagle observed by 61 volunteers this year.

      The average number is 1,442. The most recent count to surpass the 1,000 mark was in 2014 when 1,617 eagles were spotted.

      The record was 3,679 eagles in 1994, followed by 2,597 eagles in 1995.

      Eagle numbers have fluctuated partly because of changes in the availability of salmon, which have faced numerous challenges over the years and, depending on the species, have both strong and weak return years.

      Increasing temperatures and decreasing water levels are impacting British Columbia's adult salmon population, in addition to commercial fisheries, diseases, and other factors.