Viktor Davare won last year’s Bald Eagle Festival photo contest with this stunning shot. The contest is on again this year.

Campbell River Bald Eagle Fest celebrates ‘The Next Generation’

Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society has put together a public celebration of these amazing creatures

Bald Eagles are part of the fabric of the natural landscape on Vancouver Island.

Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) has, therefore, put together a public celebration of these amazing creatures at the Campbell River Bald Eagle Festival (EagleFest) on Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Maritime Heritage Centre near Discovery Pier off Highway 19A. The event is sponsored by BC HYDRO, PhotoTech foto source and 97.3 FM the Eagle Radio.

Each year hundreds of bald eagles come to our shores to feast on the spawning herring that arrive in our coastal waters by the millions in late February and early March. Many of these birds have spent time here waiting since the late fall salmon spawn, and this is your opportunity to learn more about them, to celebrate them as prepare to begin raising their young.

This year’s Theme,  The Next Generation, has many different connotations. BC Hydro has sponsored this event for nine years and presently they are building a new generating station in Campbell River.  This has brought more jobs and stability into the community.  The next generation also refers to the youth who will be stepping up to take over our earth and we hope to show what they are doing to protect our wildlife and wild spaces. It is also about the cycle of life with new generations of wildlife, the next generation.

The event will feature Wendy Kotilla and her Youth and Ecological Restoration program which is celebrating 10 years of bringing youth closer to our earth, showing what they are doing.  Her topic is “Transforming youth from Learners to Leaders” in the Thulin Room in afternoon.

Also Sarah Rebitt will talk about her Huband School “I CAN” project “Don’t fall out of the Nest”. She and two others wrote a book to sell and gave the proceeds to help MARS wildlife rescue.

Other Guest Speakers in the morning include Dr. Victoria Bowes, avian pathologist, with BC Min. of Agriculture, who will present “The Overwintering Snowy Owl Mortality Investigation”  and Trudy Chatwin a Species –at-Risk biologist in the West Coast Region  talks about “On the Edge : Monitoring and Protecting Pacific Great Blue Herons on Vancouver Island”.

EagleFest highlights include:

  • Photo contest with great prizes, sponsored by Photo Tech Foto Source
  • See live eagles, hawks, and owls up close with educators from The Raptors and MARS
  • Photo ops with MARS’ ambassador birds of prey and The Raptors.
  • Children’s activities, including face painting by Connie Schaad, crafts and hands-on exhibits
  • Displays by City of Campbell River, Wildlife Tree Stewardship program dedicated to wildlife and ecological conservation
  • Refreshments by Gourmet Girls and MARS merchandise for sale, Including Done Creative T-shirts
  • MARS has a NEW Bald Eagle Festival mascot  who will be on hand to welcome visitors – help to name the mascot by submitting your choice
  • Incredible wildlife taxidermy displays by Steve Howard and Gerry Powers, Owls of BC.
  • Drum-making demonstration and door prizes

EagleFest is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Campbell River Maritime Heritage Centre. Admission is $5 per person or $10 for a family. MARS members get in free.  More info at


Photo contest deadline Wednesday at 5 p.m.

In addition to educational speakers and opportunities to meet live wildlife up close and personal at the Bald Eagle Festival, Photo Tech fotosource will be sponsoring the ever-popular EagleFest Photo Contest.

Enter your best photos of birds and other Vancouver Island wildlife for a chance to win some exciting prizes, show off your photography skills and support MARS with the work of rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife. There will be two age categories: Youth – 13 and under – $5 per photo; Adult – 14 and over – $10 per photo.

The deadline for submissions is today (Feb. 19) at 5 p.m. To enter the contest, submit your photos on an image file on a memory stick or CD to Photo Tech Foto Source at #110 1260 Shoppers Row in Campbell River. Or you may submit your native wildlife and bird photos to or .