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Eagle-nest protection helps species soar in Ariz.

Conservation & Preservation


Arizona's threatened bald- eagle population grew by near-record numbers during the 2009 nesting season but only under tightly controlled conditions that separate birds from most human contact.

By early August, 47 eaglets had taken flight for the first time, the second-highest number to reach the milestone, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department.


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Fourstones Ltd. Donates Fuel Cell for Power at Remote Sites

Chehalis River + Eagle Point

Hancock Wildlife Foundation is pleased to announce that Fourstones Ltd., has donated one of their Pro 1600 Cube units to the  Foundation for our use in our remote viewing stations. Dana Brown, President of Fourstones, came to Vancouver to personally hand over the unit and also placed a backup unit into storage at the Hancock House Publishing warehouse along with several containers of methanol that the units use to produce power.

Initially this unit will be used at our Chehalis site and will likely also be used for other sites including the White Spirit Bear. See the article under that topic that talks about the requirement for power to get a perspective on what it will be used for as well as the initial announcement of Fourstones involvment with us.

Fourstones Ltd. imports the EFOY fuel cell products from their manufacturer in Germany for the off-grid industrial power market here in Canada. Dana started using these power units himself for his remote oil-patch surveylance services and has now decided to become their Canadian distributor.

You can watch an interview with Dana and his Executive Account Manager, Jason Abdi, by David Ingram, as well as the subsequent interview with David Hancock, Dana and me, talking about the uses we'll put this and hopefully other units to over the coming year and beyond.

These units are worth from about $4,000 to $10,000 each, depending on power output and accessories, and use Methanol to generate electricity to power 12 Volt or 24 Volt electronics such as our cameras and wireless radios at remote sites. We'll be detailing their use and providing feedback to Fourstones on their operation and maintenance. For our use, a single 28 liter container of methanol will run the system for close to a month, and with an expected "double container yoke", we'll be able to go 2 months without visiting the site. The units are quiet and "green" in that they give off a very small amount of carbon dioxide ("about the same as that from a baby's breath") and pure water as the byproducts of the chemical reaction that (in the case of the model 1600) generates up to 67 Watts of electricity (5 Amps at 12 Volts) that is used to keep a battery charged, while the battery supplies power to the electronics.

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We Must Save the Living Environment

Planet Earth

E. O. Wilson: We must save the living environment

Saving Earth's biodiversity will take nothing less than an IPCC for species, says the world's leading biologist and ant guru.

What's this idea all about?

It sounds immodest but I call it Wilson's law. It says that if you save the living environment, you will automatically save the physical environment. But if you only try to save the physical environment, you will lose them both. That is a defensible law.

So we need a major rethink?

When we talk about the world going green, the media and the public think of pollution or fresh-water shortage. They understand, and want to do something. But that is the physical world; concern for the living environment has been slow to take off, as Julia Marton-Lefèvre, head of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), will agree. We are not making the headway we should be in preventing the destruction of ecosystems and species. I have written book after book arguing that if we don't start caring about holding onto them, we will have big problems - some unforeseeable. Most Americans have only the vaguest notion about any of that, even though they can talk intelligently about climate change. Yet when it comes to the living world they are in danger of losing something they scarcely understand.


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We must Save the Living Environment

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Annual Migration

Bald Eagle Biology

The Annual Movements and Migration of Bald Eagles -- a Quick Overview

Some researchers don't consider all bald eagle populations as migratory. Some of the eastern populations, and maybe a few others, basically disperse north after the breeding season, probably an effective way to abandon the fledglings and have them head out on their own.  Then, almost immediately, the birds seem to randomly move about and then move back into their breeding territory.  Other eastern populations seem to more traditionally move north and south or south and then back north -- depending upon the population and the historic availability of foods.

On the west coast, the real home of the bald eagle!!!, at least in the sense of the dominant numbers, the bald eagle spends at least 6 months living off dead salmon.  On the southern west coast of Vancouver Island, the relatively wilderness living eagles, those not associated more recently with urban living, have a seasonal movement pattern very directly associated with the availability of dead salmon.  This pattern has likely paralleled the retreat of the glaciers so that the southern nesting eagles have to go continuously farther and farther north to adjust to the earlier spawning salmon. 

The almost complete inability of young eagles, at least juveniles of the first year, to catch live prey makes them totally dependent upon finding spawned out salmon.  Sure a few will find road kills, beached fish or seal carcasses, but the reliable food source is associated with salmon spawns. For the vast majority of our southern eagles this may mean a flight of 500 to 1200 miles to find the first reliable meal.  For the more northern eagles the fledging season more closely parallels the local spawning of salmon and the eagles can scavenge the carcasses often in their own nesting valley.

With the melting of the glaciers and the penetration of spawning salmon into the more northern rivers, the southern eagles have farther to find that first meal.  It is my hypothesis that the huge wide and long wings of the young eagles is to facilitate that long flight to the first scavengable meal. Then as the north freezes up in the late, and sometimes early, fall, the carcasses are either all eaten up or frozen under the frozen rivers. The mass emigration of eagles leaves these northern rivers for the milder and still thawed southern rivers.  Here in southern British Columbia we historically had the latest runs of salmon and consequently offered the season's latest feeding bonanza.

While a few of the northern rivers have spawned out carcasses as early as July and August, our southern rivers don't develop meaningful quantities of carcasses until early to late fall.  The eagles dependable movements, quite reasonably defined as an annual migration, is driven by first the dates of salmon carcass availability, it is also driven by the opportunistic nature of the bald eagle.  If other food sources are available they will be utilizing it.

This opportunism takes advantage of rangeland winter kills, road kills and garbage dumps -- particularly those associated with fish processing plant discards. 

On top of this many eagles along the west coast, particularly the none nesting birds, at least those not fixed to their nesting territories too far distant, can utilize the other incredible west coast phenomena - the herring and oolachican spawns.  Again, hundreds of tons of these little fish are available to the gatherings of gulls and eagles in March and April -- the otherwise difficult times for inexperienced hunters and fisherman -- the first and second year eagles.  The eagles' biology and breeding cycle, not maturing until the fifth year, and often not entering the breeding population until the sixth year, suggests it takes that long for sufficient experience to have accrued for eagles to be able to effectively hunt a small territory near a nest and support themselves and their young.  Likely this huge time investment before breeding is that it takes that long to guarantee to develop sufficient hunting and fishing skills to support staying in a small area -- the area that must provide nearby food that can be transported up to a nest for adults and young.

Where the bald eagle reigns supreme, our west coast, their survival is closely tied to the historic migration patterns of the salmon.  If our salmon go so do our eagles -- our orcas -- and us.  And at the rate at which we humans despoil habitat and polute our oceans, the question is not the validity of that statement, but when.

David Hancock

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2 bald eagles fledge in Vt.

Wildlife News


Article published Jul 30, 2009
2 bald eagles fledge in Vt.
Last year, Vermont had just one. This year, Vermont saw two successful bald eagle nesting sites, with two eagles hatching, fledgling and taking to flight.

It was the most successful fledging in Vermont since the 1940s.

One bird fledged from a nest in Concord — in what was a repeat of a successful nesting one year ago — and another bald eagle fledged from a nest in Barnet, according to Paul Hamelin, a biologist with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.

Both birds fledged and took to flight last week, Hamelin said. It followed by one year the first successful fledgling of a bald eagle in Vermont in some 60 years.

"Now we have two successful hatchings, two eagles," he said. "We've doubled our nesting population. It says we're on the right track to recovery and, hopefully, a robust eagle population in Vermont."


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2 Bald Eagles Fledge in Vermont


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