Monday, December 18, 2017

Who can? The eagle cam can

Victoria Times-Colonist photo
In my native province of British Columbia, Canada, birdwatching...especially big bird watching...has been a (wildly) popular online sport for about years thanks to David Hancock of the Hancock Wildlife Foundation, skilled photographer Christian Sasse, and the helping hands of caring British Columbians. David Hancock's 'bird cams' went from the experimental to the popular, accepted, and expected.

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
Hancock Wildlife
White Rock, BC
Victoria and Sidney, BC

Hornby Island

Harrison Mills (list of viewing sites)
Read about British Columbia's bald eagles 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


Powell River Books said...

This was a big story here in BC for sure. - Margy

Valerie said...

A delightful post Kay. (Love that pic from Wiki !) - I have followed the blog of Nora of Island Rambles in connection with this unique unfolding story. Thank you for sharing. Wishing you and yours a blessed Christmas.

Lady Fi said...

I remember reading this story and seeing Nora's shots of Spunky a while back. She blogs at Island Rambles. Such a great story!

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari om
What a wonderful story you bring us today, Kay! Off to look up some of those links now :-) YAM xx

Jo said...

Oh what a lovely story about Spunky the Red-tailed Hawk. Thanks for sharing, Kay

Mara said...

I hadn't heard anything about it, but it's great to hear the little hawk made it (at least as far as this).

eileeninmd said...

Hello, this is a great post. I love the eagles, seeing them and photographing them. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks always for your visits and comments this past year. Have a happy day and week ahead. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Seraphinas Phantasie said...

Fabulous photos and information about the Eagle.
Best, Synnöve

Cloudia said...

Someone photographed and shared a Bald Eagle here in Marin this week, Kay! Happy New Year from your old turf in Marin <3

NatureFootstep said...

the Bald Eagle is a gret bird. I saw a few in Yellostoen twp months ago. But only in a distance. Never close.

Mr Puddy said...

Just stop by to say... 🎄 Meowry Christmas 🎄