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A Good Eagle Story

Banders, Rehabilitators, Citizen Scientists - Contribute to Bald Eagle Knowledge

On March 5, 2013 an adult bald eagle showed up on the Harrison Mills Bald Eagle nest -- in view of our live streaming cams. On March 10 and thereafter two adult eagles were seen working on the nest. However it wasn't until March 31 that we noticed that the female was banded. A number of our volunteers immediately started to focus in on the band numbers. Nine numbers would be needed to get the records from the central North American band office, the USF&WS in Patuxent, Maryland to track down the history of this bird. Only 4 or 5 numbers could be seen on the facing curve of the band. This could be one of thousands of banded eagles -- but which one? Where did our late arriving female come from before appearing on our cams? This was an interesting challenge to unfold -- or uncurl -- over the next 3 months of the breeding season.

But let me give you the background. This Harrison Mills nest (HM) overlooks the world's largest winter gathering of bald eagles ever witnessed -- I counted 7,362 eagles individually in about 2 square kilometers of the Chehalis Flats, directly to the north and east of this nest on December 18, 2010. Probably well over 10,000 eagles were then present in the 5 kilometer area along the Harrison River that we consider our annual bald eagle winter count area. The eagles were here for one purpose, to gorge on the spawned out carcasses of the 5 species of salmon dominating this river -- Canada's first Salmon Stronghold River. Harrison Mills is the region surrounding the Chehalis Flats, the alluvial fan into the Harrison River which supports Canada's most important complex of spawning salmon which in turn attracts the huge numbers of bald eagles.

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Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Volunteer Training Session Nov 8, 2013

Festivals and Fun
Hancock here:  The attached notification of the upcoming Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival (FVBEF) is once again proud to present a "volunteer training program" offered by the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival and our former Chair Tom Cadieux is coordinating the program. 

The program is held at my favorite facility -- the Pretty Estates Resort -- the home of our Harrison Mills Bald Eagle nest cam.  This meeting, in addition to giving more people access to "how to be a volunteer" will enable you to have a pre-look at the new Bald Eagle Viewing Platform etc. 

As outlined several of us will be giving details on the area's ecological highlights.  The idea is to better arm people to answer questions if you are standing around these eagle viewing areas and get questions from the public. You do not have to commit to being a volunteer at the site and it occurred to me some of our Hancock Wildlife Foundation (HWF) followers might see this productive in answering questions about our Harrison Mills Nest Cams, the Chehalis Underwater Salmon Cam or the Chehalis Flats Tower Cams about to be reinstalled this weekend.

See you there.
David Hancock

* Note from Karen Bills (HWF):  Volunteering for the FVBEF is not to be confused with volunteering for HWF at our booth in the exhibitor's hall at Leq'a:mel during the festival.  This is completely separate and you are welcome to do both.  If you want to help man our booth please email me at


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Special Offer to Hancock Wildlife Foundation Followers

Fundraising Activities

Click on image to download

Special Offer to Hancock Wildlife Foundation Followers:


Purchase $100 minimum value of books (invoice value) from the Hancock House Own Website and you will get 50% discount and the Hancock Wildlife Foundation will get 50% of that purchase price. So you pay 50% and HWF gets 50% of that.

The customer will have to pay the freight as normal, which will be calculated by Lorraine at our Hancock House office. We take Visa credit cards and Mastercard, the safest way is to phone us: 604 538-1114 or where the toll free works is 800 938-1114 or order from the secure Hancock Website

Ask for the "HWF Special Xmas Offer":

Merry Xmas and thanks.

David Hancock


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"Black Eagles~Against the Odds"

South African Black Eagle (Africam)

"Situated on a cliff adjacent to the Witpooltjie Falls in the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens in South Africa is our Black Eagle (Aquila verrearxii) pair, Emoyeni and Thulane.  They have been together since 1998, when Emoyeni's previous mate, Quatele, dissappeared.  Thulane was just becoming mature when they paired. Emoyeni is approximately 40 years old and Thulane is approximately 20.

Emoyeni (“UPON THE WIND”) and Chick

Emoyeni laid eggs this year on April 15 and 19, respectively.  Neither hatched and were declared nonviable on June 5, 2013.  That should have been the end of their nesting season, but Emoyeni had other ideas!  On August 14 and 18, Emoyeni laid a second clutch.  The first egg hatched on September 28, 2013, and since the second egg was due October 2, it is most likely nonviable.  This is the second time Emoyeni has laid a second clutch of eggs.  In 1994, Emoyeni made the history books by laying an unheard of second clutch, and the following year again for laying a history making 3 egg clutch, which is extremely rare for Black Eagles.  In 1994, the eaglet was chased from the territory before he was prepared to survive in the wild and was killed by a caracal. 

There are challenges to successfully raising a second clutch, one of which is the heat of summer.  Black Eagles do better in cooler weather.  The heat on the rock cliff is difficult for the adults at best, but brutal for a young eaglet. Normal egg laying occurs during late April and early May, which is during the S.A. winter, with fledging occurring approximately in 97 days in June.  Again, during their winter.  This eaglet hatched at the beginning of their spring, with fledging due to happen January 2, during summer. 

Another challenge will be timing.  Since nest rebuilding and renovation begins in the middle of February, the adults don't have much time to rejuvenate themselves to prepare for a new nesting season.  To quote Libby Woodcock, former Director of Black Eagle Project Roodekrans, when it looked like Emoyeni might lay a second clutch "It is way too late in the breeding season for them to lay again. For starters it will severely interfere with next years breeding cycle. Should they lay now the chick will only hatch sometime in September when the weather is hot. Fledging then will happen towards the end of the year which means the juvenile will only leave the nesting area in March. The problem being is the juvenile MAY be chased from the area sooner as the new season starts mid Feb. If the juvenile has not had the full 3 months of learning survival skills with the adults there is a good chance it will be unable to survive on its own in the wild. The adults then also don't get what we call a resting period. Breeding this late is fraught with all sorts of problems and it will be the juvenile that suffers." 

There ARE challenges, but Emoyeni has beaten the odds before and we can only hope she does again this year. She's one determined mom!  We wish her and her family well and a successful fledge for the eaglet.

Go here to: Read more about Black Eagles

Go here to:  To join in our discussion of this nest

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Harrison Mills - the Place of the Eagles & Salmon

Festivals and Fun

Harrison Mills, BC has become the most famous and reliable place to see bald eagles in the entire world.  In December of 2010, 7,362 bald eagles were individually counted in a small section of this area.  Over 10,000 were estimated to be in the normal Festival count area from Harrison Bay northward along the Harrison River to the Chehalis Flats.  This incredible world record aggregation of a large predator is an annual winter event.


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