The site is LIVE during the day and rebroadcast while the eagles sleep>
The nest is located about 30 meters (100 feet) up an evergreen tree. The tree's top portion broke off in a lightning storm several years previously. The nest is just below the current top of the tree and is not visible from the ground.
This pair has been using this nest for something in excess of 19 years. Eagles mate for life unless one is killed in which case the other will try to find another mate. Eagles have been known to live past 40 in the wild and 60+ in captivity.
Note that this pair is neither tame nor even banded. They are wild birds and are not used to people around them at all. Visiting the site is discouraged for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it has been know to happen that a major change in the activities around a nest will cause the birds to go elsewhere.
How do I tell them apart?
The female eagle, as with other raptors, is about 30% larger than the male. In this case the female also has a slightly more hooked beak than the male and is obviously more aggressive when the two swap places on the nest.
The current pair of eggs were laid March 21st and March 24th, and are due to hatch 35 days later which means April 26th and 30th give or take a day or two.
The nest is situated on private property about 100 meters from the ocean on Hornby Island in the Straight of Georgia between Vancouver Island and the British Columbia mainland.
Ravens and crows have been known to steal eggs from eagle nests if left unguarded. Watching our pair you will note that they seldom stray far from the nest.
The nest is in a rural area surrounded by houses and vacation properties in generally over 1 acre in size. Sounds may be heard of passing traffic on the paved but un-lined road nearby, as well as things such as power saws and other activities. Most mornings the sounds of birds overwhelm the listener.
Hornby Island is one of many islands in the Straight of Georgia which separates Vancouver Island from the British Columbia, Canada, mainland. Hornby is between Denman Island and Texada Island, and is accessed via ferry from Denman, which is in turn accessed by ferry from Vancouver Island. See map for BC Ferries routes. See also Google Maps
See also the forum posting "The Streaming Eagle Nest - A trip to the nest site" for pictures and a description of a trip to the site from the Vancouver area.
Hornby Island is in the Pacific timezone and is currently (April 2006) designated Pacific Daylight time
Because the site is above the 49th parallel, daylight lasts significantly longer than in places closer to the equator. See timeanddate.com for sunrise and sunset times for the Vancouver region.
The area is in a generally temperate zone. Temperatures get neither very hot nor very cold as they are moderated by the surrounding ocean. The prevailing winds are from the West which means weather systems usually hit the mountains on Vancouver Island and drop much of their rain on the West coast of Vancouver Island before they get to the area where Hornby Island is. This doesn't mean there is no rain - just that it doesn't rain nearly as much. On the other hand, it can be sunny for extended period at all times of the year.
In Winter there can be as little as a few centimeters of snow at any given time, or even none in exceptional years; or as much as a meter in bad years. Temperatures rarely get much below freezing for any length of time.
In Summer the temperatures can be as high as the low 30's C but are more typically in the mid 20's with mild evenings.
See Canada Government Weather Office for weather in the nearby city of Courtenay
The camera was placed in a tree on private property (a neighbor of the person who placed the camera) under permit in September of 2004 for private viewing by Doug Carrick. He has made some video tapes of the 2005 nesting season, and edited these down to a 35 minute presentation he has given to various groups in the surrounding area. David Hancock saw one of these presentations and asked if we could hook the camera up to the Internet for others to view. The rest is, as they say, history.
The camera is an industrial closed circuit television camera (CCTV) with a microphone (mono). It is connected via a coaxial cable which supplies power to the camera and takes the video and audio signal back to Doug's home, a distance of about 100 meters across a rural road. A person had to climb the tree with lumberman's spurs to place the camera. It is housed in a box which has been covered with tree bark to make it less intrusive.
The camera had to be placed when the eagles were away from the nest on their annual sojourn to salmon filled rivers. If anything happens to the camera it cannot be serviced until some time in the late August to early October period as any intrusion will cause the eagles to abandon the nest.
The camera is less than 30cm (1 foot) from the nest and is pointed roughly East. During nesting season the sunrise is in front of and generally to the left (North) of the camera. The sun passes to the right (South) and sets behind the camera to the West.
The small piece of blue in the upper left corner is either a piece of Georgia Straight (water, my interpretation) or a piece of sky to the East - we're not really sure at this time. The camera view is down slightly so it is most likely water.
The camera signal is split from the coaxial cable as a composite video (and mono audio) and is fed into 3 separate systems at this time:
A Hancock House encoder/local storage system
WildEarth.TV streaming video facility
Doug's video recorder (VHS) and its connected television
From the encoder, the stream is fed via Telus ADSL to the Internet and to the streaming servers in WE's main server room in Germany. There it is streamed via several servers to the thousands of people who are currently watching simultaneously and in real time.
At night, when the nest is otherwise dark, the servers provide the previous day's archived video. At this time it is not possible to replace the camera with one that can "see in the dark" either with built-in lights or via infrared.
The microphone on the camera is omni-directional.
Benn was another resident of Hornby Island who, amongst other things in his life, loved and photographed eagles. Benn died in a climbing accident October 21, 2005.
David Hancock has been entrusted with the wealth of materials Benn generated in the form of photos and videos of all manner of wildlife. A book and other publications are in the process of being prepared.
For more information you may visit other sites such as:
The popularity of the eagle nest has taken Infotec, the video hosting company, by surprise. They are working valiantly to add server and network resources to manage the load. In the mean time please note that the day's video is replayed at night when the live camera is dark. This replay is not as heavily watched and most people have no problem watching it for extended periods without problem.
Please check the HWF Technical discussion forum topic for hints and tips. Please do not e-mail your questions as they will not be answered.
Hancock Wildlife Foundation has made the commitment to provide the live cameras freely to all who wish to view. This is not possible with the current level of donations, so advertising both in the video stream (Wild Earth does this) and in the various web site pages around the streams and discussion is used to offset the costs.
We are looking for advertisers and sponsors as well as individual donations. Please contact Richard Pitt
(richard @at@ hancockwildlife.org or 604-644-9265) for advertising information
Hancock House Publishing has the 36 minute DVD of last year's nesting created by Doug Carrick. Please also visit the main Hancock House site for books on eagles and other raptors. Click on the image at the left to order or contact us:
Toll Free: +1-800 938-1114 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations to Hancock Wildlife may be made by contacting Hancock House Publishing at +1-604-538-1114 or e-mail to email@example.com
We have also set up our secure server that is used by Hancock House for customers to place orders -- we have listed a title "Donations" and you will be sent a confirmation of the sum for you records.