Chain Saws & Power Mowers Serenade our Eagles


Hornby Island Bald Eagles very tolerant of Noises: I don't like chains saws nor do I like doing the lawns -- manually or with a power mower.

However, from the hundreds, perhaps thousands of people calling about the noise in the background over the past two weeks and particularly today I have to say I don't like it either. From the biologist point of view, and one VERY interested in this particular pair of eagles, I have to say that I have never been able to closely observe eagles that were apparently being disturbed than here with the camera only 14 inches away. And I must add further that Doug has been glued to his set watching the monitors to look for disturbance as well. On top of this he has the word of both the land owner involved and the tree cutter who are working only 200 feet from his house, that if he thought the birds were disturbed they would stop.

The world is backing up his observations and so far nobody has been able to suggest that the birds are upset. In short these birds have nested with many people working around the nest tree for years. All spring and summer the power mowers drone on. These eagles of Hornby Island are not unlike the 150 pairs nesting in Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, where the entire noise and activity of a city grinds on around them. Dare I suggest that the rural folk of Hornby Island really have the same kind of city detritus as we big city dwellers? Oooh!!! At least your bald eagles seem to have accommodated to the same city activity.

One of the more interesting complaints came in while I was watching and it was someone so very upset about the dogs barking and bothering the eagles. Indeed it was quite loud and immediately got my attention -- and to the screen I went! In fact I was so intrigued I immediately called Doug on the phone and asked: "How many sea lions are going by?" He was sometimes answering the call because he and Sheila were standing on the front porch watching them. They were fast moving and probably on the trail of the last of the herring spawn. You may have also witnessed the male brought in two herring one day -- bounty from the same spawning run just a little along the beach.

My point is that what we sometimes find disturbing -- and I don't like the sound of chain saws or power mowers --- are not necessarily something that upsets the eagles. If you watch the incubating adult it is fascinating to observe her / his reaction to wild animals. The close presence of a crow does cause consternation, body twitching, intense following etc. all the indications of concern. A barking dog, sea lion or a car seems to not be acknowledged as a threat. I am not suggesting they like the noise -- just that it does not seem to disturb them.

We will wish the eagles and their human neighbors a more quite peaceful time.

I thank you for your concern. Doug and I, and I am sure the hundreds of thousands of followers, want no harm for our dear friends.

David Hancock

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