FROM DAVID HANCOCK:
(Written 2/18/11 at 9:05 p.m. PST)
I got home tonight after a long day dealing with a lot of eagle and bird issues -- and to lots of emails -- which I have yet to get to. I just spoke with Ian and Lynda/elle on the phone and got a great update.
While there are lots of images and videos of today none suggest the bird is in difficulty. In the conversations with Karen and Ian it appears, in spite of common worries, that Pa is behaving very normally. Sure we know he has a cut or whatever on his neck but I have handled a great many raptors in my life and seen incredible healing jobs that occurred on and by wild raptors.
The point I wish to make is that eagles have evolved for 100's of thousands of years sticking their heads into dead and decayed carcasses. They live on diseased and decaying meat. They have evolved an ability to fight off invasive diseases. Pa has been seen eating and processing food so the cut is at least likely only superficial and does not penetrate the crop. If the crop was torn we would by now see food dripping out the crop wound. This is not the case.
While I am not wishing to play down Pa's cut, I think in the long run the risk to both Ma and Pa from the grasses in the nest is greater. Most raptors have little resistance to Aspergillis fungi. Their nest cup appears to be grass as in last year's Hornby Island nest that claimed the life of their chick.
Therefore from my perspective, since catching the bird is both stressful and potentially disruptive of the breeding season, I favor leaving the bird heal naturally, as it seems to be doing, and only if the bird is in dire straights and failing, should we seek permission to capture it.
Just as we as humans should not be taking antibiotics we should not be dispersing antibiotics to various of nature's creatures. I gather all sorts of suggestions are being offered and I very much appreciate all your concerns -- these magnificent creatures deserve better than humans have dished out to them. Eagles did not seek such greedy competitors or polluters of their waters and food supply. But Pa seems to be doing fine and I hope he continues along this path. So many of you are watching carefully as are the members of our fine ground team in the Sidney -- Victoria area.
They will be reporting to me daily and I will try and keep you all informed.
Hancock Wildlife Foundation