“We see them around all the time,” said Richard Proulx, the landfill site employee who snapped the picture of the massive bird. “It was cool to see one up close.”
Bald eagles are a species of special concern in Ontario. The designation means while the bird lives in the wild but is at risk of becoming threatened or endangered. Trophy hunting and the development of their breeding and hunting grounds along Ontario’s shorelines are major factors that have caused the decline in population, according to the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks. More and more housing along the Ottawa River is pushing the eagles to nest further inland, which may cause them to search for food elsewhere.
Michael Runtz, a naturalist, birdwatcher and instructor at Carleton University, said spotting the bird of prey at landfills and in cities is not a rare occurrence.
“Bald eagles actually often nest within the city limits,” said Runtz.
Eagles are not the only wildlife they encounter on a daily basis, according to Proulx. He and his colleagues are often greeted by coyotes, osprey, deer and the occasional bear.
“It’s like a buffet for them here,” he said.
According to a Facebook post from the City of Clarence-Rockland, the eagle spotting was reported to the Natural Heritage Information Centre, responsible for conducting research and surveys in the field for priority species across Ontario.