Tourists have experience of a lifetime when bald eagle joins them for some ice fishing

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Sara and Daniel Storozuk were just out to do some ice fishing. But the pair, who are from Cambridge, ON and were staying at Cedar Grove Lodge on Peninsula Lake this week, got an unexpected and thrilling addition to their party: a bald eagle.

They had some perch they’d caught laying on the ice, notes Cedar Grove’s Jeremy Fleming, which may have been what caused the majestic bird to come in for a closer look. It stayed nearby the Storozuks for about 20 minutes, giving them the opportunity for a few selfies. They said via email that “It was an incredible experience to say the least!” The family-run resort shared their images on the Cedar Grove Facebook page and Instagram feed, much to the delight of their followers.

It’s likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the Storozuks. Local naturalist, Robin Tapley, who also conducts wildlife research and runs a variety of outdoor, “edu-tourism” and photography programs, says it’s unusual behavior to see a bald eagle that close to human beings.

The birds will, however, spend time in Muskoka in the winter provided there is access to food. Open water is one source, as are deer and moose carcasses. Their scavenging behaviour makes the bald eagle basically “a glorified vulture,” Tapley says with a laugh.

The birds could fly in from quite a distance as well so this one may not be a ‘local resident’. But Tapley says that sightings of bald eagles in the area seem to be increasing. “We see them. They’re not abundantly around, but I think people are seeing them more and more as time goes on.”

Daniel Storozuk has some fun posing near a bald eagle on Peninsula Lake (Photo courtesy of Sara and Daniel Storozuk)

Daniel Storozuk has some fun posing near a bald eagle on Peninsula Lake (Photo courtesy of Sara and Daniel Storozuk)

Sara Storozuk monitors the ice fishing equipment. Cedar Grove Lodge is in the background. (Photo courtesy of Sara and Daniel Storozuk)

Sara Storozuk monitors the ice fishing equipment. Cedar Grove Lodge is in the background. (Photo courtesy of Sara and Daniel Storozuk)

Wildlife sightings like these, particularly when it’s not a commonly seen creature, are thrilling for both visitors to the area and locals alike. Fleming says that Cedar Grove has had a busy winter with guests from as far away as Colorado and Florida, as well as some on short getaways from the GTA and south, here to enjoy everything a Canadian winter has to offer. “With little snow in southern Ontario over the last few years, we have seen a sharp increase in winter interest and business. Winter is now as busy or busier than fall.”

This winter, Cedar Grove guests have seen the more common deer, fox, squirrels, turkeys, pileated woodpeckers, and smaller birds, says Fleming, and last week there was also an otter on the property.

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