Nov 6 -- Hornby Island Bald Eagles - UPDATE
Saturday, November 18 2006 @ 04:27 AM EST
Contributed by: davidh
Doug Carrick Reports from Hornby Island: November 6, 2006
Although the Hornby Island Eagles failed to hatch any chicks last May, they remained in their territory for the remainder of the season, feeding mainly on midshipmen - eight inch fish found around tidal pools at low tide. In mid-August, most eagles on Hornby leave on migration for the salmon rivers up the coast, but the actual date of leaving depends on the family situation. In the year 2000 for example, our eagles had one eaglet, Squeaky, who was very late learning to fly. As a result, the family was late to begin migration, not leaving until September 2. This year,in contrast, when our eagles had no eaglets to be concerned about, they left much earlier, on July 28.
In September, while the eagles were on migration I had Jed Young, the arborist, install a second camera up the tree. It is placed behind the first camera, up higher and has a wider angle of focus so as to take in, not just the nest, but also the branches around the nest where future eaglets (if there are any) will practice flying. I feel optimistic about future eaglets ever since I was informed about the Winnipeg eagles, 40 years of age, fledging an eaglet. Ours are 23 years of age.
They were expected to return on October 2, and they did return, right on schedule to the day. There seems to be little variation on the expected return date of the eagles (1 or 2 days) compared with the variation in leaving dates (1 or 2 weeks). As in other years, the eagles came back to their territory, using all their perch trees for 20 days, but totally ignored their nest. The previous two years, they finally landed in the nest on October 22. This year, they were one day later - on October 23. From then on they started re-arranging sticks in the nest and then started bringing new sticks and branches. By November 3,4 and 5, they were in full swing - bringing 7 or 8 sticks per day. They also brought several small branches with their needles still on and threw them in the center of the nest. They leave them there until the needles fall off and then discard the empty twigs to the edge of the nest. They seem to like the needles for insulation and padding.
Will keep you informed.