Vancouver BC Industrial Site - Home of Hatching Bald Eagle
Monday, April 12 2010 @ 04:51 PM EDT
Contributed by: davidh
Industrial Vancouver Harbor Hatches Bald Eagles – Wednesday?
Well maybe -- Wednesday or Saturday! It depends upon which egg was lost.
Our Live Bald Eagle CAM shows the Vancouver Harbor Lafarge Site -- about to hatch!
Bald eagles have done wonderfully well across North America since we quit shooting them in the 1950's. In my lifetime I have seen the nesting habitat around Greater Vancouver go from supporting 3 active nests in 1963-64 to over 330 nests I have in my study area today. Wednesday we are expecting to see on our Live WEB cam a eaglet hatch in an industrial site along the busy docks .... more ....
... cont ... of our Vancouver harbor. What a triumph.
Actually hatching could be as early as Wednesday but maybe not until the weekend – but more on why in a minute. The Lafarge nest on the Vancouver industrial waterfront is a miracle even to this stage. This nest was built 3 years ago right on an abandoned industrial site surrounded by bustling container trucks, immense noise and the waves constantly undercutting the cottonwood tree roots that support the nest. The Lafarge official placed Bruce Willmer, Vice President Ready Mix - Greater Vancouver Area at Lafarge Canada Inc., in charge of developing the cement company a tugboat docking and mixing plant on the site. Bruce came to the job from owning his own environmental consulting company. He liked eagles and here was an absolutely unique challenge. Could he keep this eagle nesting amidst this developing industrial site? Fortunately Bruce was not easily deterred.
I got a call from Bruce and we set up a series of options. First, the development permits were already issued. The plant could go ahead. What could I suggest that might ensure that the eagles would both remain that year and in the future. First, the tree had little expectation of long life. It was at the ocean's edge and salt water waves were constantly undermining the roots. Secondly, with the tree gone there would simply be no alternative trees to support an eagle nest. Lafarge brought in an environmental consulting company to construct a huge retaining wall to protect the tree – from both the encroaching sea but also from being hurt from truck and heavy equipment traffic. An enormous cement wall was constructed and inside this was backfilled to give the tree some nourishing soils. Riffraff held out the sea.
Then, since this is a relatively short lived black cottonwood tree, not a 500 to 700 year living fir or cedar, I designed an alternative nest pole and nesting site. This we hoped would serve as a feeding platform in the meantime. Then should the cottonwood eventually fall or blow over, it was hoped that the eagles would then have an alternative place that they had already determined as secure. Many eagles already nest on artificial structures in the region so we simply constructed a nest with what we considered were the important elements for nesting eagles. Lafarge continued footing the bill. Then I suggested we install a live cam – again out came their cheque book.
So this week with a little luck we hope to see a Lafarge chick hatch. We did not get the cam fully functional over the web soon enough to pin down the day each of the three eggs were laid. Last year during the plant construction all 3 chicks fledged. But we think starting Wednesday could be the first hatching. Then, and why should things be simply, this pair also lost one of its three eggs – probably to a raven. Again, we do not know if this stolen egg was the first, second or third laid egg so the first hatching could be as late as the weekend.
But again, great excitement and expectation. And I hope the world-wide network of Lafarge workers get all wrapped up in their achievements here in Vancouver. Lafarge already does some fine work with the WWF and we want them encouraged to do more. They occupy a great many of the world's vital environments and thankfully recognize this obligation. Our Web site, www.hancockwildlife.org also has a Discussion Forum on this nest site where some Lafarge and neighbors – our Content Providers – daily post comments on what the eagles are doing. It is appropriate that in Vancouver, British Columbia, the Bald Eagle Capital of the World, that Lafarge is pioneering eagle preservation in our busy harbor.
Thanks Bruce Willmer – and Lafarge.
PS: the next “Industrial Challenge facing Bald Eagles” is at the Port Metro Delta Port facilities where we have 4 eagle territories competing for nesting space on lamp standards. This is dangerous to people and not good for eagles so we are now working on developing a series of artificial nesting structures – in adjacent and more reliable structures. This is also an exciting opportunity to bring eagles back nesting in the world's finest bald eagle habitat.