Harrison Mills Nest Information
This nest is 175 feet up a huge Douglas fir on the 10th green of the Sandpiper Golf course at Pretty Estates Resort in Harrison Mills, British Columbia (site of the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival). The 2 pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cams also show the eagle activity on the Chehalis-Harrison Flats to the northeast (the resort is on the west side of the Harrison River, just before it joins the Fraser River). 2013 was the first year Hancock Wildlife Foundation had a camera in this nest, and David Hancock’s research suggests that the pair we watched originally moved from the next territory over when licensed utility construction led to the removal of their former nest. As of early 2018, we have watched the pair successfully raise 6 eaglets. We are not sure what this year may bring – the male disappeared last year, partway through the nesting season (both chicks fledged successfully, though there were some rocky days along the way), so we may get to see a new couple develop a bond – or it may be a courtship year, where they don’t come to the nest that often. The female usually lays her eggs in early April, so there’s still time – and we’re hoping for little chicks.
Mom laid one egg, either late April 14 or early April 15; we saw the first little hole or pip in the shell to start the visible part of the hatching process at 2:48 pm on May 20th, and the hatch was complete at 4:22 pm on May 21st. The eaglet has been named Chips by Betty Anne from Pretty Estates where the nest is located; the nest is on the edge of a golf course, and chip is a golf term for a shot made close to the green that results in the ball being briefly in the air – and Betty Anne also noted that this eaglet seemed chipper!
Sad news – little Chips passed away early on May 29th for no apparent reason. He seemed fine the night before, had been getting plenty of food, and spent the night tucked under Mom, as all eaglets his age do; he would have been 8 days old that afternoon. As of June 10, the adults have moved on with their lives and rarely visit the nest, though we occasionally see them perched in the trees, and can watch the beautiful Harrison River.
Harrison Mills North
Harrison Mills South
In 2013, the first year we watched this nest, the pair laid two eggs four days apart (three days between eggs is more common), and they began incubating fulltime immediately, so the eggs hatched four days apart – which proved too great a challenge for younger chick Bogey as the much bigger Birdie was getting all the food; Bogey died when he or she was a little over 3 weeks old. Birdie fledged successfully, and didn’t return to the nest until four days later; he/she made a final visit to the nest a few days later. Observers reported that the adults did not spend much time in the nest before the eggs were laid, and David Hancock noted that they seemed to be following the pattern of wilderness eagles, who only use the nest for raising young, rather than the more urban eagles we observe on many cams, who eat and mate at the nest before laying eggs, and use them as feeding platforms for the eaglets once they fledge.
The pair only laid one egg in 2014, and it didn’t hatch. 2015 was better – as in 2013, the pair laid two eggs four days apart, and Driver and Putter hatched four days apart. There were a few days when we held our breath as the older chick hit her growth spurt and food deliveries seemed down – but happily they picked up again in time to help the younger chick catch up – and both fledged successfully, four days apart. The pair again laid two eggs four days apart in 2016, and Sandy and Piper hatched four days apart; there didn’t seem to be any rivalry, but Piper failed to thrive and died at 3 days old; Sandy fledged successfully. 2017 was another challenging year – there was an intruder in the area while they were incubating, but they were able to protect the nest and Bunker and Divot hatched just a day and a half apart. Things went fairly smoothly for the first five weeks – then the male disappeared, and people in the area reported seeing a aerial fight in which at least one adult may have been injured. The male returned to the nest briefly 10 days later (he had a distinctive stripe on one of his tail feathers so we know it was him), but that was the last time we saw him. The female was able to provide for her growing chicks, and both fledged successfully. As the 2018 nesting season begins, the female is back, and we’ve seen at least one other adult in the area who seems to be spending a lot of time with her. And while we’d all love to see the male we’ve watched these past five years return, we’ll be happy with a peaceful, productive nesting season with whoever the female chooses.
Please join us on the Harrison Mills Discussion Forum and share your observations, click below.
2019 Nesting Season – September 2018 – August 2019
This Nest has been Adopted By:
Kyle and Neil Hardy
Irish Eyes in Honor of Chips
Dr. Ralph and Ana Gregg, in memory of Beatriz and Baltasar Corrada
Note, the map above is for reference only. Please do not visit these nests directly as they are on private property. Thanks!
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