By David Hancock
(Approved by Board for Release.)
a) General CAMs:
Judy & crew were again superbly wonderful. This year we chugged along satisfactorily. However, we do need to have more up-to-date response to ‘downed CAMs’ so they are back on line more quickly. The Cam Forums and Social Media speak to their success daily. Myles & Christian are reviewing this.
b) Underwater CAM:
We did purchase a new Underwater CAM for the Chehalis River, but this was never quite figured out by our Technical person who approved the specific camera.
c) New CAMS at Surrey Reserve:
This 10-year project finally came to a positive conclusion just after our 2018 season ended. Not only did HWF have the final approval of when the “previous active nest was taken down – after the Adults left” but thereafter we supervised the construction of a new nest while the adults were off on migration. Myles and the Dawson & Sawyer arborist constructed a marvelous nest and installed the two CAMS – one in the nest tree and the other in an adjacent tree. The best statement of success is that within a couple of days of the adults return from migration they landed in the nest, obviously gave it their approval, as witnessed by their parading around the structure that first day, but more decisively gave approval by almost daily building it up. They are in residence and only some incredible disturbance in the area or loss of one of the partners will deter this pair. Quite marvelous.
Mitigation Challenges: From the Croydon Uprising to Happy Eagles!
a) Croydon Nest Removal:
The Croydon nest was really removed just after our year qend but it has directed a lot of our members and associates time and energy. The project so far does not yet have a happy ending. No person has yet been charged with cutting down the eagle nest. The investigation continues behind the scene. I suspect no development will ever happen on that piece of land. The Surrey residents will insure this.
b) Mitigation: HWF Nest Constructions:
i) Vanier Nest:
The HWF had been asked to build an alternative nest in the Vanier Park bald eagle nesting territory to insure a suitable structure was available to the pair when they returned from migration. The old and existing nest, close to a great deal of human activity had been rejected by the new 2018 female and her newly built alternative nest fell down days before the two chicks fledged. Mike & Diana Seear captured the fallen young, got them to OWL for rehabilitation and then weeks later released them at Spanish banks. Under Vancouver Parks Board agreement we built (Myles did all the building!) a fine alternative that also already appears to have been accepted. We are working with the Vancouver Parks Board for a “Parks-Eagle Policy.”
ii) Fergus Creek Nest:
The City of Surrey contracted us to put an artificial nest structure in a fine cottonwood tree in the wonderful Fergus Creek Biodiversity Area. This was not directly a replacement nest but an attempt to provide a structure to induce a nesting pair to set up home here. This is a marvelous example of ways to increase the biodiversity. HWF has offered to sit on the FCBA Committee. Yesterday we saw an adult bald eagle foraging the Fergus Creek, presumably for a spawned-out salmon carcass.
iii) Boundary Bay Nest:
This mitigation nest, built about 3 years ago in generally good eagle habitat but not a replacement nest in a specific territory became occupied in June of 2018. The pair did some construction before departing on migration and have now returned and have built up the nest with great enthusiasm this fall. This appears to be another wonderful acceptance by eagles of our nest supplementation efforts.
CONCLUSION: Our reputation for being able to build satisfactory replacement nesting structures as effective mitigation has continued to have 100% success. This is an unusual claim for anything to do with wildlife. Now, most of our attempts to interest eagles to nest in previously “not occupied territories” has also reached 100 % success – but sometimes it takes the eagles 2 or 3 years to work out how to allow a new territory between existing territories. Our ‘Nest offerings’ seen to facilitate this in food-rich – tree-poor areas.
Suggestion: I propose we set up a “Bald Eagle Architectural School” – initially specializing in “Building in the Suburban Landscape” but there would be a gradual expansion of courses: “High Tension Living,” “Sharing Bridges” and perhaps “Patio Living.” We could offer this at a subsidized lower cost to Canadian eagles and at a higher cost to foreign eagles. This would surely get Provincial support. This sounds like a joke – but is true!
a) The BETA Project:
This project got a slow start due to late arrival of permits, but we trapped 21 eagles: 4 adults, one 3-year old and 16 immatures. All were color banded. The adults and 3-year old were also equipped with GPS trackers. This has all been followed on our WEB. We have applied for further funding to carry on this work to try and get some better understanding of where the world’s largest gathering of eagles come from and go to when leaving here. This year we also hope to follow a number of resident pairs to give us an understanding of where they go when leaving here. We have not only had financial support from Molson Breweries for this, but the City of Vancouver has been most cooperative in providing a secure place for the trapping, many farmers are contributing their dead calves as bait and the Harrison Sts’ailes Fisheries has provided a ton of fish. Thanks to all-and the field assistants who have endured some wet windy days in the field.
b) The HWF Lower Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Nesting Survey Program:
This project has been acknowledged by several municipalities/cities and we continue to be asked for historic nesting data throughout the valley and for consultation on their projects. Of course, this Data Base, now Cloud Based, is the reason we have been contracted by the City of Surrey etc. to undertake their Annual Survey of Bald Eagle & Heron Nesting. While we have never had the time to examine all of the valley nests in one season, we have been very successful in expanding our “Regional Counters.” The entire North Shore is being covered by Sally McDermott and now the City of Vancouver is being covered by Diana & Mike Seear. The upper valley has a few individuals contributing data but the 300 or so nests needs more cooperators. Any interested sole to do one or more nests? I am going to write a small note requesting further help from our WEB followers. My total for once occupied territories, thought to be still occupied, is now just over 470 pairs. I suspect there are over 600! We definitely have more work to do to see how well this population holds up or if it follows the general pollution of the Pacific Ocean and starts to decline.
c) Cooperative Outreach Efforts:
Our team has again attended almost every regional event to fly the “HWF Eagle Conservation Flag” and at each we have also promoted the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival and the Harrison Salmon Stronghold. All of these efforts I felt contribute to public awareness of our human invasion into Super Natural British Columbia. Our biggest effort was the attendance at the International Ornithological Congress where we also presented a Poster on our BETA Project. (If you wish David to address your group contact Speaker-Coordinator at: [email protected]
A second outreach has been David’s continuing effort to talk at many schools, local and regional organizations. We have further contributed to & initiated several regional and national TV programs.
Chairman of the HWF Board