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Robson Bight Oil Spill Investigation Update

Wildlife News

Robson Bight Oil Spill Investigation Update


Unusually benign winter weather conditions during the past 3 weeks have assisted the underwater investigation of  the aftermath of the tragic August 20th oil spill in Robson Bight.  A mini sub operated by Nuytco Research ( under government contract has located and documented (in high resolution video) all the equipment that fell 350m to the ocean floor when a barge dumped its load into the orcas’ Ecological Reserve.  The full list of equipment can be seen on the Living Oceans Society web site ( which also details the course of the investigation.

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Vancouver Island's Salmon Returns Dismal With Exceptions For Coho and Chum

Wildlife News

Judith Lavoie, Times Colonist
Published: Saturday, December 01, 2007

Salmon returns around Vancouver Island were dismal this year, despite the occasional coho and chum bright spots.First sockeye numbers plummeted and then chinook failed to turn up in hoped-for numbers.

Low chinook returns had been predicted because of poor survival rates for fish that headed into the Pacific Ocean in the spring of 2005.
It could have been the temperature or lack of food, but the conditions were unfavourable for survival," said Arlene Tompkins, Department of Fisheries and Oceans area chief of stock assessment for the South Coast. Last year, there was a sharp decline in returning coho that went into the ocean in 2005.

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Largest Freshwater Reserve in the World on Lake Superior

Wildlife News

This will protect habitat for species such as Bald Eagles, Black Bears, wolves and deep cold water fish....

Link to complete story:

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Fraser River Safari Tour - Dec 29, 2007

Wildlife News----- ANNOUNCING  SPECIAL  EXTRA  TOUR  ----- --------

Special December 29th Tour of Harrison to be guided by David Hancock.  This extra Tour is actually a HWF Tour with part of the proceeds going to the HWF.  I chose this date because generally between Xmas and New Year we have the greatest number of eagles present  -- I suspect we could see 1500 plus.
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Please book Through the Fraser River Safari Tours
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Our Dec 1, and Dec 9th 2007 Trips up the Fraser River to the Harrison and Chehalis were great successes. WE saw close to  600 eagles on Dec 1 and 1182 on Dec 9th and lots of waterfowl and several swans  and seals.
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HANCOCK FORUM NEWSLETTER Issue No 6 ~ December 01, 2007


Issue No 6 ~ December 01, 2007
Editors: Cobbler39/Blue Heaven



The Bald Eagle’s food habits are some of the most versatile of any bird in North America. Their diet consists of a very broad range of animal matter. The mainstay of their diet is a variety of fish, which was previously underestimated because studies of nest site debris did not account for the fact that fish remains decompose readily and that fish bones are digested by Bald Eagles and may not appear in castings (regurgitated pellets).

The Bald Eagle is an environment helper by eating a variety of marine life and other animals as well as carrion of all types. The three main food types are: fish, aquatic birds, and carrion. Depending on what is available, they will shift quickly from one food to another. In this way, the eagle is able to return to its nest territory each year because the variety of prey it obtains prevents over hunting of the area.

Beebe (l974), sums up the remarkable versatility of this species: "To a singular degree the Bald Eagle emulates the behaviour and hunting techniques of every other kind of raptorial bird on the continent, but it has also developed a trick or two of its own. Bald Eagles are variously scavengers, carrion feeders, pirates, fishermen, mammal or bird predators, and they capture the latter either from the air, on the ground, or from the water.”

The high productivity of young in the nests in the Strait of Georgia has been linked to the abundance of prey and rich variety of food the region supplies; fish, marine invertebrates (crab and shellfish), seabirds and waterfowl, as well as a regular fare of prey obtained from foraging on farmlands. They have been observed feeding on stillborn lambs in the spring.

On Southeast Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, the location of the Saanich and Hornby nests, Vermeer et al. l989 reported: "Frequency of prey remains beneath nests was 52% birds (mostly Glaucous winged Gulls), 34% fish (mostly Ling Cod and rockfish), 12% marine invertebrates (mostly crabs and clams), and 2% mammals (mostly carrion). Glaucous-winged Gulls were by far the most frequent species of prey. Up to 50 eagles attracted to hake brought to surface by upwelling in Active Pass." These findings are consistent with fish remains being much less persistent or obvious than are remains of birds and mammals.

Bald Eagles invariably choose fish, when available, over other food types. In many areas, 90% or more of the Bald Eagle's annual diet is composed of fish. Seasonal sources of food are:
  • (January to April) - schools of herring
  • (March – April ) – eulachon runs
  • (May – June) – hake brought to the surface at tidal rapids
  • (late August through January) – spawning salmon
  • Birds - nesting season near seabird colonies and wintering waterfowl on delta regions
  • Intertidal invertebrates, such as crab and shellfish

Being opportunists, Bald Eagles take advantage of fishing scraps and bycatch along the coast. They are not shy about alighting on fishing boats to look for free offerings:

image ... imagephotos: Blue Heaven

Eagles do not chew their food. They use their beaks to rip pieces off and tear it into smaller portions. They will swallow a small animal whole. The food passes into the crop, a swelling at the base of the esophagus. Food can be stored in the crop, allowing the Bald Eagle to quickly consume large amounts of food for later digestion. In this way, they can avoid having to share their catch with others. After gorging themselves, the bulging crop is noticeable.

image ssportrait: Blue Heaven
Victoria and Sidney, May 24, 2006

The birds swallow indigestible items such as fur, bones, fish scales, claws, beaks and feathers, as well as other things that could damage or block the bird’s digestive tract. These are formed into a compact pellet. The soft meat is separated and digested in the stomach. They make themselves throw up these pellets, usually right before they eat their next meal. This is called 'casting a pellet'. The tightly packed pellets found underneath nest trees can be pulled apart and examined to provide information about the Bald Eagle's diet. (Click on pictures to see videos):

VIDEO: Ejecting A Pellet, March 3, 2007 (2:30)
(Sidney Nest, poor quality recording of the Flash Cam - Mom on nest watches Dad, then copies him)
image VIDEO: Malkin Eagles, July, 2007 (3:39) ...image
The Stanley Park eagles were seen trying to regurgitate pellets this past summer up on their treetop; Dad getting rid of a pellet - you can see it drop. .....Other Wildlife/Eagles/Stanley Park Eagles
...Blue Heaven

read on for more...

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