A disappointing conclusion has just been reached. After so much concern on the web, to me personally and from knowing the hearts of our followers, I have to report my optimism of earlier today has been dashed.
This morning started with the review of the chick's situation. It had not improved. Its movements were still restricted by the fish line or whatever is restraining it. I called the property owner and got her encouragement to do whatever was necessary. I then wrote the details out to seek WildArc help at the site by Jeff Kreiger who I was sure would assist me up the lift. I notified the MOE of the chick's plight and I am sure they would, as before, have been totally supportive. Then I tracked down at home our Victoria crane operator. Richard and I planned to go over on Monday to do the rescue and clean cams and install a new one.
Then minutes ago, I got a call from the crane owner that he had immediately gone to the site. He reported back faster than I had imagined. Then the truth came out. His wife and kids were ardent Sidney nest followers and he had no other option but to check the site immediately -- they wanted dad to be the hero.
The problem he reported was that our record wet spring had taken its toll. The ground approaching the nest was puddled with open water and very soft ground. This would not support his 65 Tonne crane. So different than driving to the nest in late August or early September when the land had been drying all Summer. Approaching the nest with the crane was simply not feasible and nobody was more disappointed than the crane operator as he had to report this first to his family.
The nest tree is unfortunately long dead and very brittle. When I have been up the crane previously in the dry season, I only had to touch a 1 inch branch very lightly and it would snap off. The nest tree was totally unsafe to have a climber scale. The options are few. Getting a helicopter and someone to hang - dangle from it is very unlikely that close to such a dead and threatening spike. .
The options are now up to the eagles to surmount. But all is not yet lost. As some of you who are close followers know, Donald/Flyer was somehow caught by something on Friday and got loose later that day. In previous years chicks and adults have been temporarily caught and gotten free. Our plan of a rescue should he not get himself free by noon tomorrow, was to attempt to rescue him. Hopefully that simply meant freeing him/her and removing the line. Now it is up to nature.
Thanks to all of you who sent along the best wishes and especially to those who also contributed. We will use the funds to improve the cams when the opportunity arises. Now we must give our best wishes to Donald/Flyer.
Hancock Wildlife Foundation