Eagle Watch 2019 at Sheffield Mills, Nova Scotia
I almost didn’t go. Our plan was to show up at 8 am for the early Eagle Watch. That meant we needed to leave our house by 7:15. It was dark. It was cold. And I was so cozy in my nice warm bed. But I really didn’t want to miss it.
Did I mention it was cold? It was -9℃ (16℉). Not as cold as most of Canada, but pretty chilly for standing outside watching for bald eagles.
Nova Scotia is the largest winter home of bald eagles in North America east of the Rocky Mountains. While visiting a friend’s farm earlier this year, we saw more than a dozen eagles over the fields. But on two weekends in late January/early February, the village of Sheffield Mills holds it’s Eagle Watch.
We arrived a little before 8 and waited for resident Malcolm Lake to show up with the chicken carcasses. Local chicken farmers donated the leftover chicken carcasses and scraps. Lake arrived at 8 am and again at 10 am, and drove out into the middle of the windswept, frozen field. He haulsed several buckets of chicken carcass across the field and scattered them from the top of the hill to the lower field near the trees. We could already see dozens of dark shapes in the trees - bald eagles, crows and other birds of prey, all waiting for their breakfast..
Within minutes of the farmer’s departure, the field became a feeding ground for dozens of bald eagles. We counted 30 at one point in the field or in the sky above, with more in the trees at the edge. The eagles swooped in to grab the chicken carcass - some without even touching down. Other eagles landed and we witnessed a few skirmishes as two eagles went after the same carcass.
Click on the images below for a better look. Photo credit: Don Flowers.
After getting enough pictures and before our toes froze, we headed over to the Sheffield Mills community hall for the pancake breakfast with local sausages and maple syrup. In the four mornings of the Eagle Watch this year, the volunteers served 2036 pancake breakfasts.
We’ll see you again next year Sheffield Mills!