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Eaglets Get Names

Victoria/Sidney NestPress Release

June 20, 2006 --- from David Hancock, Hancock Wildlife Research Center.

--- The “Live Eagle Watch” Bald Eaglets now have Names: ---

"Victoria" and "Sidney" it is!

Over 11 thousands names have been sent in. The offerings were incredibly personal -- covering every name imaginable -- and some not imaginable or repeatable! Emotions have run high.

The sex of our two little eaglets is still in doubt. Females are generally bigger but males develop faster. Here we definitely have one advanced bully “Victoria” -- dominating the younger sibling “Sidney” . Without DNA testing, the size and rate of development is the only guessing point and here, due to the 3 - 6 days difference in age this is not easy. Furthermore, due to the delayed growth of the little gaffer, who was simply bullied by the older chick when food was short in supply, the smaller chick is late and not necessarily smaller due to sex.

The overwhelmingly popular names were that of "Victoria" and "Sidney" -- reflecting the two major cities and communities of their birth area. I have to admit a personal bias -- I was brought up in Victoria and on the Saanich Penninsula and it was here that I developed my life-long interest in eagles and wildlife. They are treasured places and deserve the recognition. Other people generated these names for their personal reasons -- 'Queen Victoria had a nasty streak' or 'my name is Sidney and I was bullied by my brother!' In the upcoming book on the Live Eagle Watch pair we will likely address the incredibly personal nature people used to define their offered names. Weird, wacky and wonderful!

I wish to thank all the thousands of children and adults from around the world who have followed, first the Hornby Island bald eagle pair that so valiantly incubated their infertile eggs, and now followed the growth of "Victoria" and "Sidney" . Their story is not over. Neither chick has fledged yet. Falling off the nest in practice flight is still a big risk. And the variable food supply, for a while quite improved and sufficient to feed both chicks, seems in recent days to again have dwindled. We still have some concern that the parents have a territory not producing enough food. It is interesting to note that this nesting territory failed to produce any young the past two years. Two years preceding the territory was successful. Time will tell. We are optimistic.

A helping hand: We have been frequently asked to intervene on behalf of the smaller eaglet, Sidney -- at first and now again when he appears to not be getting adequate food. The intervention is however not without risk. Certainly we could probably save this chick. However, when adult eagles see that a nest is violated, by someone climbing into it, they often refuse to renest there the next year. Yes they have that kind of memory! This is not a risk we are presently willing to take. The region does not have a lot of alternative trees big enough to easily support eagle nests and we do not wish to jeopardize next years productivity for this nest and the territory. Great painful decisions -- not easily made when you live and breath eagles all your life. Should the chick fall from the nest or not refly upon fledging we would certainly rescue it from the surrounding area. The raptor rehabilitators will come to the rescue most willingly.

Now "Victoria" and "Sidney" have a good potential ahead of them and we wish our twosome well. It is still a long struggle to the 5 or 6 years until breeding age when we hope they will return. Yesterday I saw both chicks get lots of food – lets hope this continues.

The Winners: Linda Cooney is the winner – the earliest dated email with the two names "Victoria" and "Sidney" . All the winners will have their names posted at our site: and as promised the first prize was $100.00 worth of Hancock House books, – including the new Live Eagle Watch T-Shirt -- the next 10 each get an autographed copy of my book: The Bald Eagle of Alaska, British Columbia and Washington. Bonus offering: We will also be offering to all people who submitted names free NA freight on any Hancock House Books or Eagle T-Shirt order - and a free autographed copy of The Bald Eagle if they order over $100.00 worth of product.

Note on Donations: for those who have been so kind to make donations we have initially purchased Doug Carrick, the initiator of the Hornby Island CAM, a diigital projector so he can continue his school illustrated talks more effectively. Great work Doug! Further donations are being accumulated to fund eagle research and more Live Watch CAMS. Thanks again from David Hancock

Live Eagle Watch Books coming: Hancock House Publishers is presently preparing a couple of books on this entire WEB CAM experience. We would welcome any experiences, particularly examples of any classroom projects that were stimulated by this site or any examples of art work that would assist in telling their story or next years story more effectively. We want suggestions on future live CAMS and how to make this experience lasting. Thanks to both the watcher and the press for their exceptional and continued interest and for your incredible encouragement and affirmations.

David Hancock, Eagle Biologist,


Further Background: offered by David Hancock, Eagle Biologist

Streaming Eaglets get Names!

The two bald eaglets, now named "Victoria" and "Sidney" , that have grown and developed under the watchfull eye of millions of children and adults around the world have had a tumultuous yet successful life so far. Both chicks are only one to two weeks from making their first flights.

Schools and households around the world, and our office staff, have apparently been wrapped up in the chicks growth, their squabbles and competition for food and in naming these two eaglets. Many thousands of submissions have come in officially to our offices – more have been posted to the forums. Most were inspirational, respectable, insightful – a few not repeatable!

The choice of names has been overwhelmingly difficult. Emotions are running high. Everybody seems to have latched onto “their name” as the only possibility!!

If the strife this is causing in my company is any example civil war may break out. Obviously our ‘‘kids’’ evoke emotions. Some of my staff are so determined that ‘‘their name’’ choice is the only name that they no longer can discuss the issue. I am sorry if brothers are no longer talking to sisters, classrooms ordered into two or MORE camps based on different choice of names, or threats of use of retaliatory names if “their” name is not chosen.

Background: When we first offered the live CAM the public got an incredibly intimate view of the adult bald eagles incubating their two eggs. I called it “ Life in the Slow Lane” – but that slow lane was fast to catch on. Within days our site was receiving up to 17 million hits a day. Quite a phenomena! Then, the downer! The two eggs that had been so fastidiously cared for by both parents did not hatch as expected. They were infertile.

What disappointment. What personal loss by the thousands of school kids that were tuned in daily. What a loss to thousands of office workers who used the CAM as the “sanity window” on their busy desk and the home bodies who followed every egg exchange, every weather nuance that might impact them and followed the sound of every passing sea lion or automobile with concern!

But then we were successful in finding a second nest that was conveniently positioned in an open field, a nest in which the adult pair was accustomed to lots of noise and mechanical disturbance from the nearby saw mill and farming operation, a pair that did not seem to mind peoples close presence. Here we erected a camera 80 feet away on an 80 portable crane – all donated by community businesses and workers.

Our new LIVE EAGLE WATCH from the Victoria – Sidney area of British Columbia became live in early May and instantly became the new focal point for the eagle followers around the world. After we purchased new cameras, got the electrical and video feeds set up from the offices of Victorian Epicure, the farm owners, we again sent the signal to the world via Infotec Streaming facilities.

"Victoria" and "Sidney" have given us all some highs and low moments. The bigger, obviously first-hatched chick was frequently seen bullying the little chicklet. So dominant was the bigger chick many of us worried the little gaffer would be starved out -- maybe eaten!. While this is the natural way it is hard to witness at close hand. Was the parent eagles feeding area just not producing enough food? Thousands watched daily when the adults brought in only a little food and the dominant chick took it all. But today, naming day of the two chicks, life for both is promising. We look optimistically to both "Victoria" and "Sidney" fledging in a couple of weeks.

Further biology and history on these birds is presented by biologist David Hancock on his web site:

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