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The Story of Blueberry:

In more than 60 years of dealing with eagles, not counting our incidents getting world coverage on TV and live streaming Web, no actual bald eagle nest has resulted in more people simply asking me directly: "Do you know of the eagles nesting on the tower by Boundary Bay?"

So here is what I know from my records of "HWF Nest #152" -- but one of nearly 400 nests we have documented in the Fraser Valley. I would call it just the 'Tower Nest' but I have 9 pairs locally nesting on similar towers -- and several in and around Boundary Bay because we humans have long-ago chopped down most of the trees in which they would prefer to nest. But no doubt, this is the most obvious nest to many: the Boundary Bay Highway 99 Tower Nest #152 -- okay, the Tower nest!!

In the fall of 2010 I noticed adult eagles perched on the tower where earlier that year, and for the 3 previous years, Red-tailed hawks had successfully nested. Comments from neighbors started during the spring and summer of 2011. The eagles were so obvious standing on the tower and the nest was growing throughout the spring to a noticeable size. I had seen considerable nest activity during the spring of 2011, including seeing an adult sitting in the incubation position suggesting she had eggs. However the pair was not successful that season. By late summer the adults had departed, as all our eagles do, on their northern migration but were back on the tower by early November 2011 -- getting ready for the 2012 breeding season.

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Review of Rehab Decisions: When to Rescue!!

Hancock here:   a Review of our policy of the difficulty of rescuing raptors into rehab and then to "euthanize or not to euthanize."

The last element to  "euthanize or not to euthanize" captures all the gut wrenching emotions facing a person who just exercised their 'right motivations' and 'feel good' elements of considering to help out a critter in need.  Now the more terrible decisions come forward.  But lets start with the previous question that they faced moments earlier: when to bring a wild eaglet into captivity?    Is this the right moment to intervene? Or can we leave this creature in the wild for another few hours or days or is this the last and best chance to capture?  Animals have great recuperative powers and our judgements are not always right.  What is best for the animal?  Difficult questions to answer but we feel obligated to evaluate and act -- we are humans!

Rehabers offer great service but not without investing great commitment and often gut wrenching efforts.  So here is my perspective on some of these gut-wrenching  issues -- from a committed animal lover, a conservationist, a breeder of many birds, a biologist and one of British Columbia's pioneer rehabers.   And one thing is clear from my 64 years of dealing with these issues: the commitment inevitably leads to a lot of  gut-wrenching aftermath and none of the decisions ever gets easier. 

While much of the following can apply to most species I am specifically addressing eagles that are more frequently getting into difficulties and need our help.

Why do I even attempt to answer this emotion-charged field:  The big answer is simple -- I care about the animals and have been directly involved in these decision from my early years. So here it is again. At age 11 we moved to a farm and I started to raise pigeons, pheasants and the family chickens.  The first year I caught a hawk, met one of the world's most experienced falconers  and he became my mentor into understanding ecology.  Because of my mentor, Frank Beebe's position working at the Provincial Museum and his connections with the biologist community,  I was soon the only person on southern Vancouver Island who the Fish & Wildlife Gamewardens or biologists could bring an injured bird or mammal to for care. The SPCA was not equipped to look after hawks, seabirds or cougar kittens. Hancock became the easy way out!  And this was  a long time before there were 'rehab permits' -- there was just the need to have someone look after orphaned or incapacitated wildlife.  Time and circumstances simply dictated that I was given anything rescue
d from the Island or from the mainland if Stanley Park Zoo didn't want to deal with it!

The menagerie soon extended from raptors to seabirds and seals, bears, cougars and deer.  The house and farm soon took on the trappings of the first rehabilitation center for the British Columbia area. I would commandeer the local vets into helping, but that is expensive and pretty soon the unpaid vets were encouraging me to learn to handle most challenges on my own.  The biggest challenge then was if you could not release a critter, was to find it a home or euthanize the poor beast.  Then we had more options:  at least there were possibilities of giving the animal to a zoo, private breeder or an educator.

Today, few animal are wanted by or acceptable to zoos. Giving wildlife to private people or educators is almost a no-no.  So the options for today's rehabers are basically 'wild release'  or 'euthanasia'.  These are tough calls by people who care.

 In BC if the bird is not likely fixable for release the bird is/must be put down. The real troubling area becomes those birds that look treatable, are treated for some time,  but in the end are evaluated as  'possibly not being able to cut the wild mustard'. Now a lot of time, money, personal attachment, commitment and emotion have come into the equation for this one bird.  Challenging for all.

Root Decision:  At the roots of the first few decisions are: (a)  can the bird ........

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A Note of Thanks

Hancock here with a couple of special thanks - a Fledge Season Note:

First, a very special thanks to Judyb and her Charlie  -- not only does Judyb do so much in terms of special work during the entire year keeping the Forum and web running, with Charlie not just putting up with it, but they have done this incredible annual backup financial support of meeting donations -- our biggest financial fundraiser for the year.

Thanks Judyb and Charlie - you are a world-class couple.

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Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival -- Eagle Viewing Sites


The following map outlines the viewing sites for the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival including the details of the Chehalis Flats Bald Eagle & Salmon Preserve -- the home of world's largest gathering of eagles: 2,000 to 10,000 bald eagles during the winter salmon spawning season & 8 nesting pairs in the spring - summer.


Amenities: Food: The immediate area houses many fine local & reasonable eateries including the Rivers Edge Restaurant (at the Pretty Estates-Sandpiper Golf Course), the Kilby Museum Cafe, the Sasquatch Inn Pub (no kids!) and usually some portable 'hot dog' stands.
Lodging: Rowena's Inn on the River, Sasquatch Crossing Eco Lodge, and several B & B's nearby and many motels in Mission & Agassiz.

The details of each of the 4 Festival sponsored weekend activities starting November 16-17 through mid December are given at the
Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival site along with the background on the Chehalis Flats Bald Eagle & Salmon Preserve

With a little luck David Hancock will be guiding on each weekend (sometimes mid-week if bookings demand!) from mid November through January onboard the incredible viewing and touring boat of Fraser River Safari Tours. It is best to book a seat from Jo-Anne 1-604-826-7361 or via Fraser River Safari Tours <>.  

To see a number of incredible eagle images from the Chehalis Flats and read first hand accounts of the 2012 Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival please go HERE I look forward to meeting many of you over the Festival weekends and perhaps on the Fraser River Safari Tour boat.

david hancock


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FledgeFest Open House 3 PM - 7 PM, Sunday, July 14, 2013

Open House -- Open Fields -- Afternoon Appies,  Sunday, July 14, 2013, 3 PM - 7 PM

The Hancocks and their Sandhill Cranes etc. welcome our friends to our home and aviaries. 

1.   My wife, Mary, and I welcome all my associated friends, workers and wildlife associates -- all who have collectively over the years been so supportive of our efforts on many fronts.

2.  Our party is simply an opportunity for Mary and I and the Hancock Wildlife Foundation to personally say, "Hi, welcome and thanks for your support.  Here are some of the creatures we share the place with -- have a good intermingling!!"  Very few of the hosts bite - severely!!  Not to sound morbid but having gotten this old I want to make sure we celebrate our friends and supporters while I am still here.

OPEN  INVITATION:   To all our friends, mutual supporters, people we know personally and those, who just occasionally "watch" our cams or "lurk" our discussion forums or are associated with any of the conservation projects so dear to my heart, are all welcome.  If you know us or our eagles from our cams, website or other sites, associated TV or community projects, we want you here to celebrate wildlife.

The Hosts are David, Mary and Hancock Wildlife Foundation.

The invitation is to be to all our followers and friends who can be contacted via our different media:  directly by emails, via our website, forums and facebook outlets etc.

The  "Open House", hopefully yard and bird pens weather permitting, will be informal with people coming and going during the day from 3 PM - 7 PM.  We do have a number of buildings, from the house to various storage barns available for undercover gatherings if weather necessitates.  We understand a few people from considerable distance will be in our area during that time and we especially hope to meet and share these visitors with our local supporters.

To help Mary our Foundation Director, Susan Muraja, and my hard-working Project Coordinator, Karen Bills, will be on hand. Other helpers will be appreciated particularly if the weather fails us.

Mary and David will provide some food and drink.  Susan and Karen have convinced us to gladly accept local attendees bringing additional plates of "finger food" or their drinks so we greatly appreciate that contribution.  

The RSVP is very important as we need to know how many are coming & who is bringing what? Will there be 25 or 100 guests? 
If you are planning to attend it is imperative that you email and let her know.  Karen will give you the address and make up the guest list.

Thanks and we look forward to greeting and meeting old and new friends.

David Hancock

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