Bald Eagle Nest Protection: an increasingly important action.
Monday, September 02 2013 @ 02:03 PM EDT
Contributed by: davidh
Protection of Bald Eagle Nests: The British Columbia Wildlife Act
During the past few decades bald eagles have seen an unprecedented recovery across North America. In eastern North America a big part of the eagle’s demise was associated with rampant use of pesticides in the late 1940s through 1960s. The world recognition of this environment threat, brought to the world’s public largely through one publication, Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, was simply another clog in the bigger shift by society as a whole. This was the shift from considering all creatures that compete with humans in any way as “vermin”, to our understanding that many predators are essential components of the ecosystem that we all share. Eagles went from being ‘shot at will vermin’, a species upon which Alaska offered a bounty, to being a treasured key species of the environment that we then cherished and protected.
Alaska, and particularly Washington State where most of the Alaskan fisherman wintered, suffered eagle losses of over a million eagles due to this bounty. British Columbia, where no bounty was offered still housed people with the same “It’s a predator so kill it” attitude. In response to our human attitude changes through the 1960s through to the full protection of the eagle as a “threatened or endangered species” by the US, the eagle has simply had an incredible opportunity to return to its former habitat.
No place has its ‘former habitat’ been more invaded that in the urban and suburban areas of British Columbia. No place has more welcomed the eagle than British Columbia. And no place has so been re-invaded by eagles than the Vancouver lower mainland metro region. When I did my aerial surveys of thousands of coastal eagles in the late 1950s and early 1960s I could only find 3 pairs of eagles nesting in the lower mainland of BC, greater Vancouver. Today I have recorded over 390 pairs in the same region and I suspect there are now over 500 pairs. We quit shooting the eagles and they came back.
The continuing challenge for eagles literally everywhere across North America is finding safe secure places to place their huge nests. Big trees are usually the first resource harvested and then, as housing takes over, growing trees are often considered a “block of views”! Fortunately most jurisdictions in North America have not just given the eagles protection from being killed or disturbed but there is now protection of eagle nest trees and other wildlife trees. British Columbia recently in August of 2013, prosecuted a landowner for cutting down an eagle nest tree -- and he was fined $10,000 -- a significant sum but it could have been $100,000 and a jail sentence. The eagles deserve this -- thanks Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources.
The following story, if read to another potential “nest cutter”, should surely be the deterrent, raising the likelihood that they would not get away with a mere $10,000 fine, that jail time and $100,000 payment is more likely. So my point is straight forward: there are ways to get a nesting eagle to move a few trees away. The challenge is one knowing how to get them to do so under each different circumstance.
Man fined $10,000 for cutting down eagle tree
By Paul Rudan - Campbell River Mirror
Published: August 30, 2013 2:00 PM
Updated: August 30, 2013 2:33 PM
A Campbell River man will pay a $10,000 fine for cutting down an eagle tree.
Gordon Knight agreed to pay the fine which will go to the Habitat Conservation Trust to be used to rehabilitate injured birds or to improve avian habitant on Northern Vancouver Island.
The 63-year-old automotive dealer appeared in provincial court Friday after earlier pleading guilty to destroying a bald eagle’s nest under the Wildlife Act.
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