HANCOCK FORUM NEWSLETTER - Issue No 5 ~ November 07 , 2007


Issue No 5 ~ November 07 , 2007
Editors: Cobbler39/Blue Heaven



You may remember Wendy asking several times, "Do eagles have tonsils?" (She knew the answer.)

Tonsils are organs of the lymphatic system and act as part of the immune system to help protect against infection. Our tonsils can be seen on either side of the throat when we open wide and say "Ahhh" ~
like Skye did on June 10th ...image

The eagles 'opened wide' numerous times this past season but we couldn't see if they had tonsils there!

Mom, April 28, 2007....... Baby Skye in May ....... Skye, June 10,2007

We asked our resource people; AJL, whose expertise and helpfulness is well-known on the forum, and Carla Lenihan, Wildlife Biologist and Executive Director at Hancock Wildlife Foundation. They replied that eagles do not have tonsils in the same way that we, or other mammals do, in our throats. Tonsils are basically lymphatic tissue and because the eagle eats carrion, its digestive tract is lined with plenty of lymphatic tissue to prevent infection.

We sent the question to David Hancock who forwarded it to Dr. David M. Bird at McGill University. Dr. Bird wrote back that, while birds do not have tonsils like we do, they do have cecal tonsils which are found in their ceca which are dead-ending structures coming off the small intestine at the junction of the large intestine. They produce antibodies and play some sort of sentinel role for the lymphoid system.

So..... do eagles have tonsils?

Eagle feet, eagle claws, or eagle talons?

An eagle's feet are very unique. We watched with amusement when Skye stretched a foot that seemed too big for her in front of the close-up camera; we saw Mom's huge feet and talons leave the nest above the tiny, bobbing head of the eaglet; and we saw Skye's talons develop into the powerful weapons they would one day become.


Animals also have feet with claws, including tiny birds. But the eagle's claws are extremely strong and sharp because birds of prey also use their feet for killing. They need those two-inch long razor sharp claws to grasp a slippery strong fish with scales.

Many other animals have sharp claws, so why do we call the eagle's claws talons? The difference is that an eagle's feet are designed to carry things. The foot has four toes, strong enough to hold up to four pounds when flying through the air. Three toes point forward and one backwards. The bottoms of their feet are covered with rough, scaly knobs called "spicules" that give them a better grip. The powerful muscles and tendons hold the feet firmly shut when carrying heavy prey or perching on a branch.

It is amazing that the eagle can control those enormous and lethal feet when landing on the nest, when delicately straddling incubating eggs, and so carefully avoiding stepping on a tiny eaglet.

image I confess, I AM an Eagleholic! ... John Simpson
imageThe most precious things in life aren't things! ... KSteer
imageThey say that watching fish swim is good for ones heart. It is calming. It's mesmerizing. Does anyone have an estimate of how many fish per day are coming up river? It looks endless. I have never seen anything like it ... Lolly, Chehalis cam


Sidney Nest
Mom visits the nest, October 22, 2007 ~ screenshots by jkr
Arrival to the branch - 9:27am ... Departure - 9:33 am ... and a Fly By, Nov 02, 10:44am ... SFeeney

Oak Bay Eagle Nest & Blueberry Hill, Victoria
Beautiful photos by harrymilt: Oak Bay, Oct 27; Blueberry Hill, Oct 30, 2007

Frodo Cam, Brisbane, Australia
FrodoCam discussion is in the More Wildlife section of the main Index, in .....Other Raptors
Little Dolly is growing up ... birdofprey ... Oct 30, 2007image
image... bev ... Dolly fledged the morning of Nov 03


WINGBEATS ... image
Goldstream Estuary
November 4th: No recent news on the new wireless video link going in at Goldstream. There was not a free parking space at Goldstream Park this weekend as people flocked to see the Chum salmon make their annual run up the Goldstream River. Officials say that the number of salmon should peak by mid-November.

Chehalis Estuary
The Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival will be held on November 17th & 18th, 2007, at an area known as the Tapedira Estates, just to the west of the estuary. David Hancock and Richard Pitt will be there as well as other familiar HWF members who are able to attend. During the Festival this year, they will be featuring video taken by hand-held cameras in and around the Tapedira Estates area and are hoping to include interviews and commentaries by local naturalists and conservationists. Go to the Hancock Discussion Forum to see members' comments, screenshots and videos.....Hancock Live WebCams/The Chehalis River Estuary/Discussion and Screenshots & Videos

November 1st update from David is at .....Hancock's Comments From The Field/ Chehalis-Harrison CAM site
Today, Richard was following up with the installation of the encoders on the pole the Fraser Valley Regional Parks people installed. He hopes on the weekend to have that end functional. THEN - it is the installation of the two PTZ cameras out on the flats. It is incredible that nearly 400 eagles are already in the Chehalis. YOU ALL WANT to be there ... Cheers, David Hancock
PS: I am off to the Chilkat Bald Eagle Festival on Sunday - this incredible event runs Nov 7 thru 11 and we will hope to have 3000 plus eagles on the Chilkat. Plan to get the 0700 ferry out of Juneau to Haines on Tuesday, Nov 6. That night is an incredible dinner & festival at the Klukwan Native village - the week is full of events.

Editor's note: We will all be there soon, via the webcams!


Tip: You can access Hancock Live Webcams at the Cameras page at .....Hancock Wildlife Channel


The Hancock Wildlife Foundation (HWF) has many nest builders and we have learned that an eagle's nest is never done. We have observed the eagles bringing and rearranging sticks all through the seasons, even after fledging. And so the HWF needs nest builders to keep adding strength and support.

Carla Lenihan-Lefebvre BSc., RPBio.imagephoto: BBE

Carla is the newest member of the Hancock Wildlife Foundation. To quote David Hancock, "she is a veteran in the conservation field." She brings many qualifications to the Hancock Wildlife Foundation. Carla is a Registered Professional Biologist (RP Bio.) and has a Bachelor of Science Degree in biological sciences with a specialization in ecology.

Carla has had many years of experience in species management with the objective of better managing and conserving species and their habitats along with experience in land use and natural resource management. She enjoys challenges and has a proven background of working under pressure and using negotiation and supervisory skills. One interesting aspect of her past achievements is that she organized the mid-winter bald eagle count for British Columbia in 1994-1995 for the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks.

Prior to that, Carla planned, organized, and conducted the northern spotted owl inventory for the B.C. Conservation Foundation. This involved critical habitat identification throughout the southwestern mainland of B.C. Aside from training and supervising field personnel, sometimes under extremely harsh, hostile and dangerous situations, field work involved backcountry hiking and camping in isolated areas of southwestern BC. I am sure that Carla could tell some interesting campfire stories of her multiple bear and cougar encounters.

As a volunteer literacy tutor, she helps young adults with disabilities. She is a Director of an Animal Welfare Society, rescuing abandoned animals of all types from streets, highways, barns, ravines, etc. and also helps conduct fundraising events for the organization.

As the Executive Director of HWF, Carla will certainly strengthen and add to the nest. The Hancock Forum gives her a big welcome.


Each member of the Hancock Wildlife Forum has a story to tell about how, why, or when they joined. As part of Nest Builders, this column will feature these stories: they are the very essential body of the nest. Many members have already posted their story on.....The Garden Fence Chat/How Did You First Hear About the Eagle Cams? Please take the time to add your story there.


"I have always wondered about the various ways we have all first heard about the Eagle cams (Hornby Nest). This event has brought so many of us together from all over the world, and it amazes me.

How well I remember a beautiful afternoon in April, 2006, when one of my son’s phoned me in a very excited voice to tell me about a school project his daughter had at her school. “It is something you will really enjoy Mom,” he said to me, “watching a pair of Eagles hatching their eggs. It’s like you are right in the nest with them. Think of the poetry you could write about that,” he laughed.

I couldn’t believe it and after he gave me the infotec address that my granddaughter had taken home from school, I came to the computer, and lo and behold, there was Mom and Dad Hornby both on the nest. I was transfixed as I watched them, and my love affair began.

That’s how I became acquainted with the Hornby Eagles and of course the Saanich Family, and all of you. That April phone call certainly changed my life for the better!!

Thank you, David, Doug, and Richard!!

Peace, Laura"

__________ image

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