Bald Eagle Nesting Season Underway – We Need Eagle Nest Watchers.
National Request: While I started out my studies in the Northwest several decades ago and really started to get “Eagle Watchers” – people keeping a watch on the local Vancouver area eagle nests – I now am expanding this “Eagle Watch” program nationwide. Our Live CAMS on bald eagle nests have shown the international nature of eagle enthusiasts to want to contribute to the betterment of eagles. This is a program of volunteers to help that cause.
The program is simple. We get people who are concerned about bald eagles to keep track of eagle nests in their area. I realize there are already hundreds of you out there. In my area these devote “Eagle Watchers” have been my best suppliers of information about disturbances around the eagle nests. If one of them saw any threat to “their” nest they called me or local authorities IMMEDIATELY! . Many of these same observers are also my best source of data on number of chicks fledged etc.
Now I want to expand this study in several ways.
1) Get a bevy of Eagle Watchers around the country – in every State & Province. Each to be watching one or more nests and reporting on it.
2) We have had students working for the past year developing this computer program so it will be maintained and governed by local experts – and that will often be you or with your assistance! Each State or subregion will be further divided as interest and nest numbers expand. If you already have a note book full of eagle nest data this will be your way of contributing this data to a national study. Biologists, students and keeners will be encouraged to contribute and utilize this data base for their studies. And of course they will be encouraged to post their questions or data fields to be filled in by our Eagle Watchers. In short this data will be a fine supplement to local, regional and national eagle management.
3) Before the nesting season is finished we hope to have this national register established, and approved by Federal and State / Provincial authorities, and the data based program up and running that will enable us to coordinate nesting success on thousands of eagle nests. We will be initiating this data base with the many hundreds of nest records from southern British Columbia, Washington and Alaska that we already have on hand. In some cases we have many years’ data for a single territory. Some of the territories have been active since the 1950’s and 60’s when I started this eagle work. Some eagles are still using the same nests! It is this kind of historic data that is really exciting.
4) Therefore start by collecting the data as follows:
– the location, street address and latitude & longitude from Google Earth or Virtual Earth.
– dates of observations on:
– adults present, (throughout year)
– adults seen in incubation position
– adults seen in brooding position
– feeding young & number of young
– estimated age & number of chicks
– # of young fledged + dates
– Try and gather date/year when this nest was first built.
– # of young fledged any / every year possible.
– species of nest tree, etc. **
** When we post the details of the study we will give more details on what data is desired and how to collect and present it on our web site. We will give details not just on how to collect but ‘why to collect’. In the meantime just start to gather in data on each and every nest possible. My goal in 3 years is YOU will record the data on 20,000 nests!
Wanted Immediately some volunteers: I will also be seeking people, local biologists and keeners, to assist in getting this regionally established. We already are looking for assistance in getting the local data entered into the data base. If you are interested in helping please contact me: David Hancock HWF 604 538-1114. [email protected]
Other Regional Bald Eagle Data Collection Programs
In various regions of North America there are already many organizations and individual persons collecting bald eagle data. Some of these collection systems are very well organized and become part of the USF&WS or regional State wildlife agencies annual data collection system. We are hoping to bring the public into further developing, at one web site, all these nest records.
Since the de-listing of the bald eagle from either “Endangered” or “Threatened” status in most areas of North America most of the funding sources for eagle studies and census taking have dried up. Our International Bald Eagle Nest Record Scheme we hope will act as a supplemental tool for the continued collection of bald eagle data.
In some cases, as with our own WiTS system here in British Columbia, the details have already been coordinated into a system to offer the regional city or municipal governments very sophisticated data base for use by the regional planners. The WiTS data base, to which I am a supplier and committee member, has gone another step in having many of the nests verified and presented in a computer program layer available to the planners in such a detailed way it can serve the planners in legally determining if a builder’s plans have to be modified in view of a “Wildlife Tree”. This incredible tool gives the eagles and key “Wildlife Trees” some special consideration in those cities where our WiTS program is approved. Our International Bald Eagle Nest Record Scheme with its hundreds of “Eagle Watchers” is to encourage the development of similar programs across the country.
In other regions we wish to encourage this same support to cities so that they too might advance the WiTS program in their area The details of the WiTS program are available at: https://www.wildlifetree.org/ It is hoped that our WiTS system or another one doing a similar job will be initiated in other areas to protect great wildlife trees and eagle nests. For example, all the Hancock Wildlife bald eagle data collected within the WiTS British Columbia area of interest is made available to the WiTS program and used by the contracting cities / municipalities in their planning reviews. Similarly, all of our data will be made available to any other regional authority in North America. In fact it was our HWF data on the more than 200 bald eagles nests in the Fraser Valley that initiated the WiTS program expansion into this area from its Vancouver Island — Gulf Island roots.
In short, our nationally based program to plot eagle nests is hoped to be a coordinating program that will provide an ever expanding data base by regional groups or individuals thereby contributing to a supplemental management tool for their area.
Hancock Wildlife Foundation
“A Not-for-Profit” Charitable Foundation
PS We are awaiting the spring release of Raph Goulet’s master thesis – the first ‘outside use – McGill University’ – of our regional data base.
PPS As soon as we get the “test version” we will be seeking further advise and testing with USF&WS and state biologists on further suggestions and supplementary data requests. Then we will be releasing the program to the public.