Harrison Mills Nest Information
This nest is 175 feet up a huge Douglas fir on the 10th green of the golf course at the Sandpiper Resort in Harrison Mills, British Columbia (site of the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival from 1995-2020 and part of the Eagles of Fraser Valley Self-Guided Adventure). 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 had watched that pair successfully raise 6 eaglets, and then there were some changes and challenging years (see the History section below for details). There were no eggs in 2019, 2020 or 2021, but the new pair was committed to the territory and to each other – and Dimple laid her first egg on April 10, 2022! Unfortunately Duffer was injured shortly afterwards, probably while defending the territory from a potential intruder; he recovered and kept control of the territory, but the time spent fighting interrupted his nesting instinct, so he didn’t help incubate. In spite of Dimple’s amazing dedication, the eggs didn’t hatch. As of September 2022, both eagles were together and busily preparing their nest for next year – and were still getting it ready when the remaining cam went offline permanently in March 2023. An observer visited the nest in May and said the eagles did not appear to be using the nest where the cams are; we don’t know if Dimple laid any eggs, or any other details.
September 7 – we were able to install two new cams this year! We’re still adjusting some things, but it’s looking good! These new cameras are a bit different from the ones we are used to using, so there may be a bit of a learning curve as we find the best settings. Thanks for your patience!
October 11 – we’ve had one eagle visit the nest, but it may have been passing through; it seems that a number of eagles are late returning this year, and we know they don’t really need to start work on the nest until the spring – but we are hoping to see more visits soon.
Harrison Mills North
Harrison Mills South
In 2013, the first year we watched this nest, the pair named Mr and Mrs Honeycomb by the folks at Pretty Estate laid two eggs four days apart (three days between eggs is more common), and they began incubating full-time 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 an 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.
Mrs Honeycomb returned to the nest in the fall of 2017, but it was not until March 11 that we saw the new male she had been spending time with come to the nest. Fortunately they worked quickly fixing up the nest, and laid one egg on April 15 (almost 2 weeks later than usual). The egg hatched and Chips seemed lively and healthy, but died overnight 10 days later, on May 29. As often happens when an eaglet dies, Mrs Honeycomb consumed the remains on May 30, and the last time we saw her on the nest was May 31, 2018. The new male continued to work on the nest, and on June 18 he brought a new partner to the nest. They both visited regularly through the summer, and in the fall of 2018, Betty Anne from Pretty Estates (who gives the eagles there golf-related names) named them Duffer (M) and Dimple (F), or Mr and Mrs D for short. The pair did quite a bit of work on the nest in 2019, but did not produce any eggs. Heading into the 2020 nesting season, the nest was looking even better than last year – and we hoped for eggs, but that didn’t happen. 2021 was a repeat of 2020. Maybe 2022….
2022 was a hard year. Mom Dimple laid what we think was her first egg ever on April 10 – we were thrilled! And then we were surprised that Duffer didn’t come in to help incubate (he had been an active partner with Mrs Honeycomb in 2018, his first year at the nest). And on April 12 we saw that he had been injured, with quite a bit of blood visible on the side of his neck. He seemed generally healthy, but acted as if there was still an intruder around, and was focused on defending the territory. He won the fight, but never did get back into nesting mode. Dimple did a great job incubating almost around the clock – but she did need to leave the nest to find food and get some exercise, so the eggs were uncovered more than usual, and did not hatch. The South cam had gone offline in 2021, and the North cam was off for much of June, so we don’t know how long Dimple continued to incubate. When the cam started working again in early July, the eggs were gone and both adults were working on the nest. The cam was also down for a while in August; since it came back online on August 23, both adults have been visiting the nest regularly and working together to prepare it for next year. This makes me very optimistic that they will be successful in 2023 – but did not give us any opportunity to try to replace the non-functioning cam.
As of September 2022, both eagles were together and busily preparing their nest for next year – and were still getting it ready when the remaining cam went offline permanently in March 2023. An observer visited the nest in May and said the eagles did not appear to be using the nest where the cams are; we don’t know if Dimple laid any eggs, or any other details. Happily, thanks to support from the Sandpiper Resort, we were able to install new cams in the fall of 2023, and we again have our fingers crossed that we’ll finally see eaglets here.
Please join us on the Harrison Mills Discussion Forum and share your observations, click below.
Thanks to Sandpiper Resort for your support!
2024 Nesting Season – September 2023 – August 2024
This Nest has been Adopted By:
~ Irish Eyes ~
~ Charlie Ipcar ~
~ JudyB ~
~ gemini ~
Note, the map is for reference only; the exact location is not public to avoid any potential disruptions in the lives of the eagles and those living near them. Thanks!
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