Eagles mate and birders count in mid-February

As far back as the Middle Ages, folks noticed birds and animals acting frisky in mid-February

As far back as the Middle Ages, folks noticed birds and animals acting frisky in mid-February.

In his ‘Parliament of Foules,’ Chaucer observed that “on seynt Volantynys day,” every bird comes together to choose their mate.

Modern-day ornithologists confirm that many species begin mating season around Saint Valentine’s Day, a fact particularly evident with bald eagles.

Last week, a friend reported a bald eagle duo nuzzling on a high branch atop a conifer tree. Mated for life, eagles re-affirm their pair-bond and repair their nest to prepare for a new breeding season. T

he majority of Canada’s bald eagles live along B.C.’s Pacific coast, so chances of seeing them canoodling in the treetops, carrying nesting materials or mating in mid-air are pretty good.

On another birding high note, last week Brian Kyle photographed a Common Redpoll along the Myrt Thompson Trail at the estuary; the hoary and common redpolls are uncommon winter visitors to the area. A flock of 60 was spotted at Neck Point Park in Nanaimo on Feb. 12.

These little nomads are always a joyful sight with Valentine red forehead and breasts.

With love in the air, my backyard squirrels are displaying some unusually zany acrobatic skills as they go about their “mating chase,” so we’re dreaming of teeny squirrels to be born high above in their leafy nests called dreys.

Constructed of twigs and lined with moss and dry leaves, the insulated nests provide a warm nursery for the blind, furless infants no bigger than a peanut.

THIS WEEKEND: Look for eagles in love and visiting redpolls, and enjoy some flying, feather-filled fun during the online Great Backyard Bird Count, Feb. 17-20.

Last year, Campbell River placed third in the province by sighting 70 different species and submitting 61 bird checklists. Details at: www.birdsource.org/gbbc.

NEXT WEEKEND: Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society hosts its 7th annual Bald Eagle Festival on February 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Campbell River’s Maritime Heritage Centre.

Find the Vancouver Island Backyard Bird poster at Coho Books and the Campbell River Museum giftshop. E-mail Christine at: wildernesswest@shaw.ca.