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About 100 bald eagles spotted near Gull Lake

Dozens of bald eagles were spotted in one location near Gull Lake late last week. (Photo by Shelley-Anne Goulet/Facebook)

Birdwatchers have spotted about 100 bald eagles in the same area near Gull Lake.

A member of the Red Deer River Naturalists Facebook group, shared pictures featuring a number of eagles sitting near each other in trees.

“Thanks to a tip from a friend of mine, We went out first thing this morning, to see the massive group of Bald Eagles that we were seen hanging around in a group of about 100 or so,” Shelley-Anne Goulet said in the post.

“We were not disappointed. They were all scattered in a few trees. Most of them were mature eagles, but we had counted about six to 10 were juvenile. What an amazing (sight) to behold.”

The collection of photos has received more than 50 shares and 150 likes since being posted on Friday, Jan. 12.

Carol Kelly, Medicine River Wildlife Centre executive director, said a sight like this is rare for Central Alberta, but it’s not too unusual for a large group of bald eagles to gather in one location if there’s a nearby food source.

“I’m assuming there’s a food source that has them gathering there,” Kelly said on Monday.

“On the west coast, when the salmon are running, the record is like 4,000 in one spot, so it’s not uncommon from them to gather. I always say that I think they have a better social network than we do. They seem to be able to get the word out if there’s a food source. It’s kind of amazing really.

“There may be a farmer who’s calving and leaving the afterbirth or a dead calf. Maybe somebody has a dead cow that they’ve left out. There’s got to be some kind of a food source to keep that many birds in one spot for that length of time.”

Kelly said she expects the bald eagles to leave the area once the food source is gone.

“With this cold weather, if they’ve found something good to eat they’re just going to stay there because the only thing that keeps them alive when it’s that cold is being able to get as much food in them as possible,” she said.

“I think people should enjoy (the sight of so many eagles in one spot). It doesn’t happen that often around here, so enjoy it. But don’t bother the birds. Don’t get too close for your pictures.”

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Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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