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The Naming of Species


Taxonomy, Nomenclature and Speciation



It is likely only in the last few 10's of thousand years that man began to question the relationships between himself and nature. It is only with extensive world travel particularly spurred onward by seafaring nations during the last two millennia returning home with weird and wonderfully different creatures that we seriously began to collect the different living and ‘dead’ plants and animals. About 200 years ago the mounting collections of artifacts became recognized as national treasures and proof of the new lands conquered and explored.

Boxes, jars, rooms and buildings of exotic treasures needed to be organized. Organization began with labeling, lists, indexes and these eventually demanded an overview of how and why one plant or animal belonged in one file or the other. Certainly the boxes and individual creatures were bunched by Countries, or continents or islands. It was logical to put ‘cats’ together with other ‘cat-like’ creatures. Palm trees, while wildly different from different areas of the world, were clearly “palm trees” Some had glorious dates, others didn’t but they were still palm-like. Relationships and hierarchies just naturally grew. Jars, boxes and stuffed animals or dried plants just logically ended up in association with or next to other similar specimens.
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Age of a Bald Eagle Nest

Bald Eagle Biology

Bald Eagle Nest: Probably pushing 100 years old -- PLUS!

Between 1963 and 1967 a bald eagle nest in my Barkley Sound Vancouver Island study area was annually used and produced 1 or 2 young each year. This leaning cedar tree was probably in excess of 300 years of age. The nest was very old from many years of constant use. I had climbed to the nest in the 1960's and my notes state it was a very old nest, “well weathered and lived in”.Size, 6 feet 2 inches across and about 2.5 feet deep. The nest had probably been occupied the previous 30 - 50 years.

This nest was one of 136 occupied territories in that part of Barkley Sound that I studied.


Another Visit in 2003


In July of 2003 my wife, daughter and I were kayaking in Barkley Sound and as we rounded the southern end of this same Island I stated how in the early days my favorite nest was suspended over the water in a leaning cedar tree. We rounded the bend and there was the same leaning cedar – with two large full grown young standing in the nest.

As an update to the above. Barkley Sound was largely logged prior to the 1950's and by the 1970's was designated part of the West Coast Regional National Park. During my study period in the mid 1960's we never saw more than 1 kayak or canoe party per summer and perhaps 3 to 5 pleasure boats. Commercial salmon trollers and shrimp trawlers were constantly working the Imperial Eagle Channel. Today the adjacent area houses numerous trailer parks and campsites, boat launch ramps and an incredible armada of kayaks, canoes and pleasure boats. And the area seemed to have as many bald eagles as it did 40 years ago. Not all is lost.

A question comes to mind: Will a tree sustain an eagles nest for two or three hundred years? Certainly the trees can live twice that long. And how many different adult eagles nested in this single location?


David Hancock
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Adult & Chick Sexual Size Differences-1

Bald Eagle Biology

My measurements show that the bald eagles in our area, southern British
Columbia, generally weigh between 5 and 12 pounds (closer average 7 -11 pounds) . When I repeat this to my Alaskan colleagues they point out they have caught several 13 pound birds. And I believe they do.

I actually suspect many are seasonally bigger here as well. An eagle stuffing itself for days on end on salmon gains great weight. Most of the eagles I caught were during the summer when food was less available – and they had to work harder to get it. The general breakdown is 5 - 8 pounds for males and 8 -12 pounds for females.

It is interesting to note that in each of the first 5 years of an eagles life its wingspan gets shorter and has less width. The big soaring wings of the juveniles, so necessary to get them to their first free food, which might be 1000 miles (1600km) with minimal energy expansion -- the northern salmon runs -- get shorter and better adapted to fast maneuverable flight to match the eagles flying needs which become greatest when it has to be able to hunt within a home range to support a family. Before that it has more freedom to soar and the larger sails are obviously better adapted to that. A female just off the nest might have 6'4" wing span but at maturity it might only be 6'.

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Bald Eagle Nestling Age Classes-1

Bald Eagle Biology
Bald Eagle Nestling Age Classes

By: David Hancock:
Bald Eagle Biologist


Bald Eagle Nestling Age Classes:
(Waiting for DH photos)


Chicks- Colour/Size and Estimated Age

======================================
Class 1.
White and Small. Never left alone
for more than 2-3 minutes 1 - 10 day days
--------------------------------------------
Class 2.
Starting Grey and Small. In warm
weather left alone 1-10 minutes 1 ˝ - 3 weeks old
-------------------------------------------
Class 3
Grey sit up in nest. Can be left
alone in warm weather 10-+ min. 4-5 weeks old
--------------------------------------------
Class 4
Brown feather just starting to
show in a few rows 6-7 weeks old
-------------------------------------------
Class 5
Brown feathers showing as
dominant tracks 8-9 weeks old
-------------------------------------------
Class 6
Brown and full size body:
No grey down showing. 10-12 weeks old
-------------------------------------------
Class 7
Fledglings: Uniformly brown:
Chicks fledge at 80 to 90 days of age.
==================================
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Product Donations

Wildlife News


Product Donations also Gladly Received

The Hancock Wildlife Foundation is always needing specialized, new or used equipment for which we will also issue receipts.

Camcorders, Video Editing equipment etc. For placement in nests, for upcoming school projects or testing sites. Also needed tripods etc.

Satellite Telemetry equipment: If any biologist has left over equipment we would love to use it in our upcoming eagle tracking project.

In particular we seek a sponsor who could supply high quality and high resolution cameras for the nests and other projects.

OK – here’s a Different Request: Does anybody have a spare aircraft, particularly a 2 - 4 place float plane, that they would donate for our surveys etc? I did have my commercial pilots license and would like to get back to these surveys. And of course it would support our other projects so effectively. What a dream for the Foundation and a fine way for someone to convert an aircraft, or surplus motorhome, into a full tax deduction.


A Specific Donation Needed:

Underwater or Weatherproof Video Housings needed:

The Foundation is always looking for donations of Weatherproof Housings or Underwater Housings that we can adapt to video cameras. We want them for putting in anything from eagle nests, to sitting on the bottom of rivers to sitting out in the open fields for months of exposure. Bob Chappel, our technical man on the Island, uses them in many bird nesting and school projects.


OK – here’s a Different Request:

Does anybody have a spare aircraft, particularly a 2 - 4 place float plane, that they would donate for our surveys etc? I did have my commercial pilots license and would like to get back to these surveys. And of course it would support our other projects so effectively. What a dream for the Foundation and a fine way for someone to convert an aircraft, or surplus motorhome, into a full tax deduction.



David Hancock


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