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Annual Sheffield Mills Eagle Watch weekends to celebrate community, culture

SHEFFIELD MILLS, NS - It’s an annual celebration of community and culture where convocations of eagles are the stars of the show.

This year’s Sheffield Mills Eagle Watch takes place over two weekends, Jan. 27 and 28 and Feb. 3 and 4.

Meg Hodges, a community resident and member of the Sheffield Mills Community Association’s executive, said she has lived in the community for five years and has been involved with organizing Eagle Watch the past two. Hodges, who is also the Kings County councillor for District 1, has got to meet and come to know a lot of people through the annual celebration.

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

“The colder the better, they love it when it’s cold,” Hodges said. “They’ve been really active lately, we’ve been seeing huge convocations of eagles.”

For the second year, there will be a launch party at the Sheffield Mills Community Hall the Friday evening leading into the first weekend, Jan. 26, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. The association is partnering with Glooscap First Nation to hold the launch. The event is called Kitpu, the Mi’kmaq word for Eagle.

There will be eagle drummers, a legend teller sharing stories of the eagle in Mi’kmaq culture and a conservationist doing a night sky interpretive walk. The County of Kings is providing snowshoes for the walk.

The Noodle Guy of Port Williams will be putting on a dinner and representatives of Planter’s Ridge Winery will be on hand for a wine tasting.

Hodges said last year was the 25th anniversary of Eagle Watch and organizers wanted to do something special to commemorate the milestone, so they held a launch party. It was pretty successful and a lot of fun, so they decided to do it again.

Hodges said the Kitpu event has added another level of excitement to Eagle Watch and she has enjoyed working with Glooscap First Nation to organize it.

Tickets for the launch party cost $25 each. The admission for children age six to 12 is $10 and children age five and under get in for free. Tickets will be available at the door or by calling Hodges at 902-300-0103.

Hodges said the annual pancake breakfast is perhaps her favourite aspect of Eagle Watch.

“It’s one of the times of the year that we get to see each other the most,” she said. “So many people in our community come out to volunteer.”

The breakfast takes place at the community hall on all four weekend mornings from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Volunteers will be making pancakes from scratch. There will be sausages from the Canning Meat Market, eggs donated by the Egg Farmers of Nova Scotia, hot apple cider from local farmer Richard Hennigar, maple syrup and blueberry syrup. Hodges said there would also be live musical entertainment all four mornings.

This is the association’s major annual fundraiser with proceeds going toward the ongoing maintenance of the community hall. It also raises money for the Sheffield Mills emergency fund. These funds are used to help community members in times of need.

Click here for a story on last year’s Eagle Watch kick-off party.

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