Lafarge built an artificial nest in hopes of luring the eagles from an unstable home in cottonwood tree
Friday, November 13 2009 @ 11:05 PM EST
Contributed by: terrytvgal
Lafarge built it. The eagles have come. Now will they nest in it?
The multinational concrete giant has installed an artificial nest atop a 20-metre-high wooden pole for a pair of bald eagles whose habitat is the industrial Vancouver waterfront on Burrard Inlet.
The artificial nest is adjacent to a lone cottonwood tree but about five metres higher on the same Lafarge ready-mix site on Commissioner Street where the eagles maintain their own long-standing nest.
The immature cottonwood continues to lose branches in high winds and is at risk of falling over. Other trees on the leased Port Metro Vancouver property were cleared about a year ago for Lafarge’s $20-million ready-mix plant.
The eagles raised three eaglets in the cottonwood last year, and have recently returned to the site after feeding on salmon up the coast. So far, they haven’t been observed on the artificial nest and it’s uncertain whether they will adopt it come breeding season in February, or stick with their old nest.
Either way, the artificial nest is there as insurance and another place for the eagles to perch.
David Hancock, whose Hancock Wildlife Foundation specializes in live wildlife video cams for education, worked with Lafarge to install the artificial nest and rig up a camera that will eventually monitor the pair of eagles.
He said he collected about 100 kilograms of alder and elderberry brush that had been cleared by the International Boundary Commission near his home on Zero Avenue in Surrey. The eagles can use it as nesting material.
The two-metre-wide nest is set within a steel structure, with two perches atop.
“We’re giving them a head start, not putting them out of the job of nest-building,” Hancock said.
Lafarge vice-president Bruce Willmer said the company has spent about $50,000 to date, including construction of the artificial nest site and landscaping improvements at the base of the cottonwood.
“We haven’t seen them on it yet,” he said of the artificial nest. “I’m sure they will. They sit on containers and the corners of buildings.
“These are urban eagles.”