Note to “Surrey City Bald Eagle Reserve” Keepers:
This is a marvelous achievement: a pair of bald eagles nesting – repeatedly nesting — among an active subdivision. You are Beautiful British Columbia’s First Bald Eagle Reserve.
In 1998 I started to follow this territory. They then nested for about 20 years in a tree at the very edge of the subdivision – the tree recently removed due to rot. For a couple of years, they nested west of 171st but those trees got removed. At the time that Dawsan & Sawyer purchased this property they inherited a Mitigation Proposal for Development around this active bald eagle nest. A proposal I wrote for an earlier developer who rejected the proposal. When D&S contacted me with ”Is this proposal still viable” I said lets look over the property and see what we can do.
Well they agreeably set aside this section surrounding the active nest. Surrey City then voted to make this the first Surrey City Bald Eagle Reserve. Then 8 days later, if I remember correctly, a storm again blew the nest out of the tree. I say again as the birds loved building their nest on this precarious branch, and this was the 3rd time it blew off.
Actually, we only found out the nest had blown down as it was well hidden in the ‘forest’ when someone found a second nest a block away. What triggered the search was finding this other active eagle nest just to the south. So now we had an Eagle Reserve with no nest and an adjacent lot, with forest clear-cutting permits in hand, and an eagle nest that stopped all cutting. Compromises were needed. And your eagles got them. But now the big levers were brought into play. The Forestry, Lands and Natural Resources administer the Wildlife Act and that says no eagle nest can be disturbed, let alone cut down. But compromises were again forthcoming.
We drew up another Mitigation Plan. This suggested that we let the pair continue to nest in their new site for that season. At the end of that season, when the eagles were off on migration, we would build a new nest in their favorite tree on the Reserve and cut down the nest they had just raised young in. But WOW this was new country. FLNR had never approved such a thing in modern times – I stress ‘modern times’ because not many years earlier the government would just give “Ministerial Approval to Cutting down Bald Eagle Nests” – but not anymore. This resource has become sufficiently rare and in need of good trees to hold their huge nest that preservation takes president. I had worked with the recent government for a number of years showing how we could build nests to replace other nests and our work was 100% successful. Success does sometimes count.
So, the permit was issued. Then another twist. The property developer where the active nest sat had a delay in needs to clear-cut his land. The eagles could stay there another year. To me this was perfect. The D&S project still had yet to have all the buildings finished beside the “Proposed to-be-built nest tree in the Reserve.” Leaving the eagles to nest across the street meant the D&S building could be finished and all the cranes removed by the next year so more modifications by FLNR Permits again took place — all favoring the best options for the eagles. So, in the fall of 2018 after the eagles again left on migration, we built the D&S nest and the Government allowed the nest to be cut down.
On the 3rd of October the first adult returned and went straight into our – its – new nest. Shortly the male returned and as many of you have followed, they so wonderfully and carefully reared two young before many of your eyes. An incredible happening in the middle of a very dense sub-division. And I have to say it was only because of a developer, a City and Wildlife Branch that made it happen.
Right now, Thursday September 25th, a big adult eagle appeared in the nest, so it looks like this year is off to another good start. ———————————– ———————————— —————————————-
The Way to Watch Your Eagles: www.hancockwildlfie.org and choose your eagle nest — we have several Nests to choose from: I SUGGEST YOU PICK “Surrey Reserve Nest” !
If you want to look at the next nest north, at the junction of 16th Ave and Highway 99 — well you can’t see the nest as we do not have CAMS on it BUT we do have a gps tag on the back of the male and he signs in at least twice a day telling us how eagles use their habitat. He also this week returned from his migration. His female is not ‘yet’ tagged!
Comments on your Surrey Reserve Pair: Some details: First, all eagles are different, in personality, behaviors, and with keen perception, in looks. Here is how our web site starts out: “The resident pair, aptly named Res (the female) and Sur (the male) are not easy to tell apart. However, each has ……..” We have pages of the web devoted to differentiating the pair.
The following url shows your eagle arriving Sept. 25, 2019 — her first visit on return from migration. Interestingly she picks up a fresh branch with leaves on the nest, a fresh offering that Myles our HWF associate who had just climbed the tree to clean the CAM lens had dropped in place as an offering. Obviously, she did not like his fresh offering — but she does like his nest.
Enjoy your eagles. If you go to our web site, get interested in the pair, we would love you to join our forum and post your comments. Because you live in the area you get to see things our other viewers miss but would like to know. Also, if any of you visit the Semiahmoo Beach on the waterfront below the Peace Arch Park please report on their hunting. They own a hunting territory a little to the west but south including the Blaine Docks and the Harbor and bird colony on the Rocky Harbor rim.
Know your eagles, love your eagles.
David Hancock, Myles Lamont
Hancock Wildlife Foundation