The Bald Eagle as Canadian National Songbird?

 

in Prince Rupert, BC we tie up at Rushbrook Harbour at the north of the waterfront under a high cliff.  The place is packed with hundreds of fishing boats, rafted four a breast.  Orange notices in  on the pier, the single shower room, the phone booth announce a MEETING at FISHERMAN’S HALL with a simple AGENDA of two items: UPDATE and FIGHTBACK PLAN.  The bumper sticker on the boats in port and on the pick ups with boat trailers up on the hard is yellow:   
Friends DON’T let Friends 
EAT FARMED SALMON 
Our last recreational marina is far behind us and among all these boats Aurora is the only American, but one day we find we have three cruising sail boats for neighbors.  In front of us in a white steel ketch is Réné, a Frenchman flying the Alaskan flag, which he notes is identical to the Euro flag when furled. He’s a permanent circumnavigator who leaves his boat only to go work in Asia or Africa.   He wintered this year in Craig, Alaska, and loved it.  Just the right sized community, he says.   Can we recommend a place in British Columbia?  We suggest Sointula and Ladysmith.  Rafted to the ketch is the Tir na n’Og.  Peter and Eileen are from Victoria and headed for Glacier Bay the same time we are.  (Sure enough we see them every second or third day.  So few recreational vessels this year!)  Rafted to us, are Dennis and Joanne from Vancouver, BC and they are at the end of their trip north.  
Above us and around us making the most amazing spectacle of themselves are bald eagles.  Hundreds of them.  Hugely energetic brown feathered three-year olds flirt and flap all along the wharves.  More dignified adults are twelve feet of wing soaring above our masts, white head and tail invisible against the morning fog.  Prince Rupert is a be-in-it sort of place not a take-pictures-of-it one so these pictures are odd shots from elsewhere.   But around town folks have tacked up photos and posters that show gigantic Doug Firs decorated with dozens of bald eagles, like Christmas ornaments.   It’s as if all the bald eagles in Alaska took refuge in Prince Rupert when there was a bounty of their heads back when they were blamed for thinning salmon runs.  
So maybe you can picture it.  But what is the sound track?   Well it’s amazing.  A whole hill side cascading with twelve or thirteen note cascading trills.  Says Joanne, “I hope you Americans won’t take offense, but we’re nominating the Bald Eagle to be the Canadian National Songbird.  
No offense whatsoever.

in Prince Rupert, BC we tie up at Rushbrook Harbour at the north of the waterfront under a high cliff.  The place is packed with hundreds of fishing boats, rafted four a breast.  Orange notices in  on the pier, the single shower room, the phone booth announce a MEETING at FISHERMAN’S HALL with a simple AGENDA of two items: UPDATE and FIGHTBACK PLAN.  

The bumper sticker on the boats in port and on the pick ups with boat trailers up on the hard is yellow:   

Friends DON’T let friends 

EAT FARMED SALMON 

Our last recreational marina is far behind us and among all these boats Aurora is the only American.  But toward the end of the week we find we have three cruising sail boats for neighbors.  In front of us in a white steel ketch is Réné, a Frenchman flying the Alaskan flag, which he notes is identical to the Euro flag when furled. He’s a permanent circumnavigator who leaves his boat only to go work in Asia or Africa.   He wintered this year in Craig, Alaska, and loved it.  Just the right-sized community, he says.   Can we recommend a place in British Columbia?  We suggest Sointula and Ladysmith.  Rafted to the ketch is the Tir na n’Og.  Peter and Eileen are from Victoria and headed for Glacier Bay the same time we are.  (Sure enough we see them every second or third day.  So few recreational vessels this year!)  Rafted to us, are Dennis and Joanne from Vancouver, BC and they are at the end of their trip north. 

bird

Above us and around us making the most amazing spectacle of themselves are bald eagles.  Hundreds of them. Hugely energetic brown feathered three-year olds flirt and flap all along the wharves.  More dignified adults are twelve feet of wing soaring above our masts, white head and tail invisible against the morning fog.  

IMG_8004_2Prince Rupert is a be-in-it sort of place not a take-pictures-of-it one so these pictures are odd shots from elsewhere.   But around town folks have tacked up photos and posters that show gigantic Doug Firs decorated with dozens of bald eagles, like Christmas ornaments.   It’s as if all the bald eagles in Alaska took refuge in Prince Rupert when there was a bounty of their heads back when they were blamed for thinning salmon runs.  

So maybe you can picture it.  But what is the sound track?   Well it’s amazing.  A whole hill side cascading with twelve or thirteen note cascading trills.  Says Joanne, “I hope you Americans won’t take offense, but we’re nominating the Bald Eagle to be the Canadian National Songbird.  

No offense whatsoever.

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