Nesting eagles draw plenty of attention

by Jim Sinclair - Sooke News Mirror

Making the most of one’s assets is one way to get ahead. If your best assets relate to natural scenery and wildlife it can be a good idea to let others know about them, it’s worked well on Hornby Island and a local host can see it happening along West Coast Road near Muir Creek.

A pair of bald eagles is fixing to nest on a treetop near the Ocean Wilderness B&B and proprietor Lori LeCount is considering the idea of sharing images of the family with an international audience.

The world has recently taken notice of the same attraction going on under the eye of a webcam on Hornby Island and there were millions of hits in the space of just a week.

The interest has apparently not translated, as some may have feared, to a rush of looky-loos creating nature-induced gridlock near the source of the natural wonder. On the flip side, welcome attention has been directed to the island community, likely as a result of the avian family’s day-to-day diary.

Before rushing into installing a tree-top camera on a closely neighbouring conifer, LeCount sought advice from Lower Mainland-based David Hancock of the Hancock Wildlife Foundation, who encouraged restraint.

While conceding ignorance of the lay of the land, Hancock did bring up the possibility of a crane being used to get a camera to where it could be effective.

The ideal situation would be for someone who owns such a piece of machinery to donate it for a certain length of time. Because no heavy lifting would be involved, and no one allowed on the unit, certain standards as set out by WorkSafe BC, for example, could theoretically be waived.

“It’s going to have a five-pound camera on it and that’s it,” said Hancock last week from Surrey.

The foundation’s founder expressed familiarity with the Hornby Island phenomenon and focused on the positive aspects of the exercise going back to 2006.

“As an eagle biologist that’s why I got involved in it. We had no idea that would be the response when we put it (webcam) up, but at the same time it’s the kind of thing that makes the public aware of what they weren’t aware of before. So much of the world thinks eagles are pretty rare beasts and really they’re not. I’ve got 200 pairs nesting in the Greater Vancouver area.”

Hancock said populations of the striking bird had rebounded well once the bounties on the birds had been discontinued in Alaska and Washington State.

The Hornby experience is about to be replayed, and the foundation has to its credit similar set-ups in Victoria/Sidney, the Goldstream Estuary, and Stanley Park (a heron’s nest).

Details on the local scenario will be forthcoming if and when the plan gets off the ground. Meanwhile, check out the related stuff at And if you have a spare crane you’d even consider letting someone else use (if the location is suitable) call LeCount at 646-2116.

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Jermajesty wrote on Apr 13, 2011 5:35 PM:
xnoIsV Cool! That's a clever way of loionkg at it!
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