Infamous Bald Eagles At Sidney BC Again Have Chick

Sunday, April 11 2010 @ 05:37 PM EDT

Contributed by: davidh


Sidney -- Victoria BC Bald Eagle Nest Again Has Chick


April 10, 2010   06:28    First signs Ma & Pa have a little one.  But success, even to this point of hatching, has not been without drama.  This is the incredible pair of bald eagles that really brought world fame to our Live Wildlife CAMs back in 2006 when their two young were watched by over 100 million people as they grew up and finally fledged.  For reasons that almost seem unexplainable, this close-up view of our eagles captured the world's attention.  This year the drama has been intense but  ... more ...


   ...  cont ...   for more reasons than “it's all new” – we have already experienced great tragedy.

Earlier in April the first nest, the one in the spectacular old Garry Oak literally blew out of the tree in a storm.  The past two years this original nest had been periodically used as a feeding platform, particularly by the newly fledged young.  But now it is gone.  I had forecast that the new nest, built two seasons ago in the dead fir was not long for the world – I predicted that the tree would be blown over.  So much for my judgement  – and cudos to their good judgement.  The nest in the dead tree that they occupy and now supports a young chick still stands and the old oak nest is gone.

But then the second tragedy beset the pair a couple of days later when we all witnessed a raven fly in during an exchange at incubutation and steal one of the eggs. Quite incredible to watch. I have seen raven predation a few times over the years but always from a distance.  Two years in a row I saw a pair of eagles at the Bight, the world's finest collection of private and Park totem poles in existence and housing a fine bald eagle nest, get harassed by ravens.  Both times because I was over 100 feet below on the ground my view of the actual grab was obliterated but I saw the raven appear and disappear carrying an eagle egg. In both these cases the  incubating eagle was challenged by a pair of ravens that nested only about 200 feet away.  I suspect the intensity of the challenge by the ravens was greater because of their nearby nest.

But back to Sidney.  Here at the incubation exchange, which seemed to take several minutes, the raven appeared in those unguarded moments and the egg was gone in a flash. So often we have seen the incredible coordination between the exchanging pair.  The incubating bird sits patiently, the partner arrives, gets closer and closer, sometime even literally pushing the incubating bird off the egg and sidling into position. All during this the covered egg is hardly even seen by our cam – and wouldn’t even get a drop of rain on it.  The care to avoid exposure seems extraordinary.  But at the moment of the loss, both adults were absent from the nest and not apparently paying proper attention and the raven had the prize.  Seconds later the adult, who seems fully aware of the loss, the reduction from two to one egg, screams with apparent displeasure or concern and then takes up incubation on the reduced clutch.

Of course many of us wondered if there was something else wrong.  Why did the parents leave the egg so exposed for those few minutes?  Had they already determined that the eggs were dead?  Had the incubating bird gone off because she had seen something tragic happen to her mate?  Our single cam would not be able to answer this. We would have to wait ground confirmation by the local Content Providers.  But the morning light of April 11 dispelled our worries.  There under the rising adult was revealed a chick.  Other evening viewers, those listening to the cam microphone in the dark, had already reported late evening sounds suggesting all was well. But it was that early morning "stand-up and show the world” that gave us all a good feeling.  The final hatch time we will take to be the early morning hours of April 11 – suggesting that those of us feeling very optimistic, will be planning a “FledgeFest party” for July 5th.

The Sunday morning hatch also confirmed that this was the second laid egg that hatched and that the first laid egg was the egg stolen by the raven.  The first egg was to hatch April 8  – again leaving many of the viewers a little more anxious as the 11th approached.

Sidney is again on the way to success.

David Hancock.

Tag: david hancock victoria sidney bald eagle egg hatch chick

Hancock Wildlife Foundation