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Hancock here: Some thoughts on the White Rock Pair & Territory as of May 12, 2018

At this point it is likely that the WR nest is going to be unproductive. The male does not seem to have acquired a full-time mate. During this spring I have been alarmed about the nesting activities of a possibly a new pair just to the north of the WR nest. The nesting activity, confirmed by a couple of local residents, consisted of two adults regularly sitting on the trees to the north of the WR nest at the foot of 21A Avenue. This perch tree was almost precisely the site of the last attempt of the WR pair to nest (#040 D in 2007) – the third nest cut down by permit on what I have historically called the Block Bros. (BB) Property – the owner of the property who kept seeking to cut the next nest down to build more houses!

This BB site had a great deal of negative local publicity due to the cutting being opposed by the local citizens. It was when the third nest was cut down and the top 40 feet of the tree including the nest were removed to a new tree stump that had been topped, close to the water, that I finally called Russ Cmolik, the owner of our WE nest cam property, to say, ‘Yes, now is the time to build a nest on your property.’ This is of course what we did. The second day after the pair returned from migration they built up our nest frame. This WR nest has been successful almost every year since. As you followers know Pa, or the male eagle present, had at least 4 different females in attendance at the nest at least briefly. Apparently he enjoyed each!

From my periodic observation of all the 11 active bald eagle territories on the Surrey/White Rock Peninsula I was concerned that between the movement of Nest # 403 (the next pair nesting to the south) much closer to our WR cam nest, and the sudden appearance of another pair just to the north of our WE cam nest, that bad confrontations were happening. Now in mid May it is apparent that we have 3 active territories – # 403, our WR cam nest and now the new #040.5 G nest site, all squeezed into 663 meters. less than half a mile. Wow! For territorial eagles this surely has to be strife distance!!! I had repeatedly seen adults in all these territories but I could not find the northern nest,# 040.5, until about a week ago. Today I saw both adults beside the nest, one landing on the edge. But no chicks yet seen but it was a very hot day. So do we have three complete territories or perhaps only two ?? The southern #403 and a single northern #040 territory, or do we have 3 territories with our WR pair holding up the middle or perhaps just our male and some passer-bye females!

The new nest is actually 40 meters (130 ft.) closer to our WR cam nest than was the last nest site that was attempted by this original territorial pair before we gave them their nest at Russ’s (2009) where we then installed the WR cams in 2010.

While initially there was a lot of building construction activity at the heart of this Territory #040, now 10 years later the local houses are all built and well vegetated. Perhaps one or both of our pair has been replaced since the last nest tree (#040D) had its limbs trimmed (2007) to prevent nesting and the new or even a single mate now re-mated has decided to take this original area for nesting.

Sure wish we had these birds tagged! I am sure you all have your own thoughts.

It seems that competing for bald eagle prime habitat is causing all this strife around the WR nest sites.