|Victoria Times-Colonist photo|
The time and patience of David and his crews of volunteers and loyal followers, was more than rewarded this year when a miracle happened.
Everyone in BC and most of the western world—watched the Sidney, BC, eagle cam footage of its nest because it was occupied by two eagles, two eaglets, and a baby red-tailed hawk!
In British Columbia, Alaska, and Washington State, then across the continent, and perhaps the world, nature lovers and scientists alike watched that nest with eagle eyes—always cheering for the little hawk, while always afraid its adoptive eagle parents would one day begin to think of it as prey.
The parenting instinct won over, and the eagles raised their littlest chick with the same care and attention afforded their original nestlings. See the National Geographic story about "Spunky" the little hawk raised by eagles.
|Wikipedia photo, showing an eagle's dangerous talons.|
Talons like these never posed a danger to "Spunky" the little red-tailed hawk adopted by eagles.
About the Bald Eagle:
The bald eagle is the national symbol of the United States, so one might suppose that the largest bald eagle population is in the continental US, but that is not the case:
The bald eagle was almost wiped out in the US by hunters shooting ‘for sport'! The largest populations are not in the continental US, but in Canada and Alaska.
Attempts to re-establish bald the US population are becoming more and more successful, however.
Back 'home' in British Columbia, although the numbers of Bald Eagles did diminish, the species was never endangered to the extent that it was in the US. While driving alongside the coast from the suburb of White Rock on the US border, on my way to work in the city of Vancouver, I could witness for myself the increase in the BC eagle population. More and more of the huge raptors could be seen flying across the highway to the Pacific Ocean each year.
Bald eagles live near oceans and generally feed on fish, but they will also catch small mammals or feed on carrion. Younger bald eagles travel great distances...Florida-based eagles have been located in Michigan, while California-based bald eagles have traveled right up to Alaska.
About the eagle cams:
I remember when the late Richard Pitt, husband of a high school friend, was helping David Hancock place some of the first eagle cameras high in the trees of southwestern British Columbia. Just talking to Richard, I felt I was part of a big adventure— and, with a lot of work and enthusiasm on the part of nature-loving British Columbians, it really did become just that.
If this 2017 list is any indication, there will be many eagle adventures in British Columbia next year. Conservation of wildlife and habitat has become one of the most important efforts on the planet, and we may just have a chance, thanks to dedicated people like David Hancock and Dr. Christian Sasse.
Although I no longer in live in my beautiful British Columbia, I do love to write about it.
Some of the eagle cams plus YouTube
White Rock, BC
Victoria and Sidney, BC
Harrison Mills (list of viewing sites)HERE
and don't forget, here! National Geographic
(Further online investigation has yielded some evidence that Spunky may not be the first baby hawk to be raised by eagles. Birding lore suggests that when two infant hawks have been brought to a nest to provide food for eagle nestlings, one could survive while the other is eaten. The wee hawk would, of course, have its mouth open preparatory to receiving food, and the eagle parents could recognize the open mouth only as that of a nestling in need of feeding. I have been unable to verify this theory, however, and I am less than even an amateur birdwatcher...I'm just a wannabe.)
Sharing the eagles and eagle cams with Our World Tuesday