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Early History of the Sidney Nest Cameras

Victoria/Sidney Nest

Hancock Wildlife's most prolific and best known eagle pair, mom and pop Sidney, started out as the fall-back pair for our 2006 nesting season. The Hornby Island eagle nest camera had drawn huge numbers of viewers; far more than either David or I had expected. We were expecting maybe 100 researchers and students at universities around the world to be interested. Instead the numbers grew to the point where we had to stop letting more concurrent sessions watch - at 40,000 simultaneous viewers.

As the time of hatching came closer, then crept hourly past his first estimates, David Hancock grew more and more fearful that the eggs would fail - and he started the process of finding another nest we could all watch.

As it happened, he knew of this Sidney nest and knew that chicks had already hatched, literally the day the eggs at Hornby were to hatch. He contacted the property owners, got their blessing and then arranged for an old truck-mounted crane to be donated to the cause. We could not climb the tree to install a camera - that has to be done when the eagles are not in the area, during their Fall trip to the salmon spawning grounds after the chicks fledge. The good thing about this tree was that there had been people working in the field close-by it all the while they were re-building, laying, incubating, and now raising their chicks. There was every indication that us going in and putting a crane 50 feet from the tree would not cause them any major angst.

I was given the task of organizing the install from the hardware point of view. We had arranged with the owners to get access to a telephone line in their office building about 1000 feet away from the nest tree. Telus supplied us with an internet feed there, and I installed a computer with video encoder card in it. Bob Chappel, our Victoria-based video camera expert, supplied us with a pair of power/video adapters that would drive power to the tree and return video and audio through a single piece of cable. All I had to do was bury the cable from the office, half-way to the tree across a cultivated field. The other half of the distance is native brush and blackberries so the cable could sit on the surface.

Did I mention it was hot? Spring of 2006 was excellent - unless you were out in the sun in the middle of a field, digging a trench and trying to strap a weather-proofed video camera and pan-tilt-zoom head to the top of a crane boom. It took several days to get things finally in place, tested and working. By this time the Hornby watchers were pretty sure the eggs had failed; one of them after the chick was seen pecking at the shell - disaster.

We quickly cut over to the new Sidney camera with the images of its two 10 day old chicks and the world breathed a sigh of relief. They again had something to watch and listen to and were able to forget the failure of the Hornby eggs.

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“State of the Birds” Report: Climate Change Threatens Hundreds of Species

Wildlife News

News Release

March 11, 2010

 Secretary Salazar Releases New Report
“State of the Birds” Report Showing
Climate Change Threatens Hundreds of Species

Austin, TX–Climate change threatens to further imperil hundreds of species of migratory birds, already under stress from habitat loss, invasive species and other environmental threats, a new report released today by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar concludes.  



The State of the Birds: 2010 Report on Climate Change, follows a comprehensive report released a year ago showing that that nearly a third of the nation's 800 bird species are endangered, threatened or in significant decline.

“For well over a century, migratory birds have faced stresses such as commercial hunting, loss of forests,  the use of DDT and other pesticides, a loss of wetlands and other key habitat, the introduction of invasive species, and other impacts of human development,” Salazar said. “Now they are facing a new threat--climate change--that could dramatically alter their habitat and food supply and push many species towards extinction.”

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The Heat is On: Desert Tortoises and Survival

Conservation & Preservation

This release can be found in the USGS Newsroom at:


USGS main page

News Release

March 8, 2010
Karen Phillips 916-278-9491
Kara Capelli 703-648-5086

 Though the Mojave Desert tortoise has thrived in the southwestern United States for thousands of years, its population has severely declined over the last four decades. A new USGS documentary, titled The Heat is On: Desert Tortoises and Survival, explains why this important indicator of desert ecosystem health is declining and what scientists are doing to save them.

Mojave tortoises were first listed as a threatened species in 1990. Widespread and rapid declines in tortoise numbers have made them a top priority for federal research and are driving efforts to recover the species. The desert tortoise will not be removed from the endangered species list until its population stabilizes or increases over 25 years.


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Anti-dolphin hunting film wins Oscar!

Wildlife News

 Help us save Japan's dolphins!


The Cove won the ‘best documentary’ category at the 82nd Academy Awards held at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre yesterday Sunday, March 7th. The film exposes the secret slaughter of tens of thousands of dolphins in Japan every year and the public health threat posed to people from eating the meat, which is heavily contaminated with mercury and other toxins at levels that hugely exceed health safety limits.

The Cove also reveals that dolphins spared slaughter are sold to aquaria and ‘swim with dolphins’ programmes around the world.

Campaign Whale is the sole UK member of the Save Japan’s Dolphins coalition campaign featured in the film. We are working directly with former dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry in Japan to end the dolphin slaughter. Ric trained dolphins for the 1960s TV series ‘Flipper’ that was also made into a film in 1996. Campaign Whale Director Andy Ottaway also worked with captive dolphins and is convinced that it is cruel to keep these intelligent social animals in captivity. Andy also led a nationwide campaign that saw the closure of all UK dolphinaria in the early 1990’s.

Campaign Director Andy Ottaway said ‘This award is thrilling because the Oscars are the most watched TV programme in Japan. Now 130 million Japanese, as well as a further billion people worldwide, will be made aware of the secret dolphin slaughter taking place in Japan and will hopefully want to stop it.’

Please help the dolphins by donating to or joining Campaign Whale today!


To learn more about Campaign Whale please visit their website:



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Great blue herons are beautiful – and they're here

Wildlife News
At Colony Farm in Coquitlam, great blue herons roost on swallow boxes near the wetland as they gather in large groups in preparation for nesting.
Hilary Maguire photo

Published: March 12, 2010 6:00 AM


Great blue herons are truly one of our most elegant birds.Seeing them while out on a stroll can be a breathtaking sight. Approximately one metre tall, with long and graceful necks, herons can often be seen in shallow water as they search for small fish on which to feed.

Reliable locations to observe herons along the water’s edge include Port Moody’s Shoreline Park, DeBoville Slough in Coquitlam or Colony Farm Regional Park, where public nature walks focused on herons will be offered this Sunday, March 14 as well as March 27.

Because herons are not an uncommon sight locally, it is can be hard to understand why they are one of our species at-risk. Our herons belong to a unique sub-population that, unlike great blue herons across Canada, does not migrate south in winter. It is this coastal subspecies, thought to number about 4,000 pairs, that is considered to be at-risk.


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