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Sheffield Mills preparing to host thousands of visitors over 2019 Eagle Watch weekends


Organizer says eagles plentiful this winter

SHEFFIELD MILLS, NS - The eagles are plentiful, as will be the number of visitors converging on Sheffield Mills.

As has been the case for several years now, Sheffield Mills Eagle Watch will take place over two weekends, Jan. 26 and 27 and Feb. 2 and 3. This will be the 28th annual event.

Meg Hodges, a resident of the community for approximately six years and a member of the Sheffield Mills Community Association’s executive, said Eagle Watch remains the association’s main fundraiser for the upkeep of the community hall. It keeps the lights on, keeps furnace oil in the tank and keeps the roof repaired.

“Without it, I’m not sure if our hall would necessarily survive, so it’s a really big deal for our community,” Hodges said.

She said it’s one of the few times during the year that everyone in Sheffield Mills gets together to work on a common project, so Eagle Watch is special in this regard.

For those hoping to observe eagles, they will be fed chickens donated by area farmers in the field at the corner of Middle Dyke and Bains roads at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. all four Eagle Watch mornings.

Hodges said it’s exciting to see so many eagles around this winter. She was at her neighbour’s home the other day and saw a convocation of up to three dozen fly up from a pond behind the house.

“They’re here and they’re hungry, so it will be a good show,” she said.

Photographers from near and far travel to Kings County in hopes of capturing the perfect shot during the Sheffield Mills Eagle Watch. - File
Photographers from near and far travel to Kings County in hopes of capturing the perfect shot during the Sheffield Mills Eagle Watch. - File

Another crowd favourite is the pancake breakfast, taking place at the Sheffield Mills Community Hall all four mornings from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The cost is $8 for adults, $4 for children under age 12 and children under age 4 get in for free.

There will be live music and the menu consists of pancakes made from scratch with ingredients provided by Eos Natural Foods and sausages from the Canning Village Meat Market. There will be Oxford blueberry sauce and Warren Family maple syrup to top it off. Just Us! Coffee Roasters will provide hot beverages, there will be apple juice from Great Valley Juices and apple cider from Richard Hennigar of Suprima Farms. There will also be local eggs available as a gluten-free option.

Members of the Blomidon Naturalists Society will be upstairs in the hall talking about eagles and their habitat and representatives from Ducks Unlimited will have a booth.

A bald eagles scares gulls away from a morsel of food. - Tim Krochak
A bald eagles scares gulls away from a morsel of food. - Tim Krochak

“There will be lots of information out there for people who want to learn more about eagles and why they come to Sheffield Mills,” Hodges said.

Ross Creek Centre for the Arts will be upstairs in the hall on Jan. 26 with eagle-themed crafts for kids and there will be eagle-related art on display.

She said organizing such a large fundraising event has been a great learning experience in many ways and she wouldn’t know as many people in Sheffield Mills if it weren’t for the event. Hodges, who is also the Kings County councillor for the area, said she thinks Eagle Watch is a great community builder and she has gained a much deeper appreciation for the event since moving to Sheffield Mills.

It led to her and her family becoming more involved and new families seem to come on board to volunteer every year. Hodges said it’s great to see the torch being passed down from those who started the tradition.

She enjoys hearing stories from long-standing community members about the early years of the event. When they started, approximately 100 people were served breakfast, mostly from the vicinity of Sheffield Mills. Last year, approximately 5,000 people were served over the four days of Eagle Watch.

For more information, visit www.sheffieldmills.org.

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Kirk.starratt@kingscountynews.ca

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