News / Toronto

Bald Eagles making a comeback in Toronto's west end

After years near extinction, Bald Eagles have been making a slow turn around and have been spotted more and more in Toronto's west end.

A Bald Eagle is pictured at the zoo of the French eastern city of Amneville, on June 5, 2012.

AFP/Getty Images

A Bald Eagle is pictured at the zoo of the French eastern city of Amneville, on June 5, 2012.

No, they’re not fleeing Donald Trump’s America. But, they are making a comeback.

Bald eagles are flocking to Toronto — a trend that’s being billed
as a conservation success story by environmentalists.

People in Toronto’s west end have been spotting them occasionally this winter, and eagle-eyed bird watchers are noticing them as often as every few weeks, said Emily Rondel, Toronto projects coordinator at Bird Studies Canada.

Only a few decades ago the birds were close to extinction and on the endangered list, threatened by DDT, a chemical used in pesticides. But, since it’s been banned, things have slowly turned around, and they’ve been downgraded from endangered to a species of “special concern.”

Toronto’s Richard Thomas captured two bald Eagles in a tree in his residential neighbourhood near High Park in December.

Richard Thomas

Toronto’s Richard Thomas captured two bald Eagles in a tree in his residential neighbourhood near High Park in December.

“They’re making a pretty remarkable recovery,” Rondel said.

The birds of prey still face threats, she added, such as waterfront developments that infringe on their habitats. But, in general things, are looking up.

Rondel said it’s not clear where Toronto’s eagles are coming from. They may have flown from nests along Lake Erie and Hamilton or migrated from further north.

It’s also hard to know exactly how many are here because that requires banding and tracking, she said.

Richard Thomas was surprised to recently catch a glimpse of two bald eagles fighting in a tree in his Bloor West Village neighbourhood.

“I was outside with the kids and saw this squeaking and screeching,” he said. “They’re very impressive.”

He saw another one soaring along the Lakeshore just after Christmas.