A Quick Raptor Monitor Update: Oct 27, 2022

Notes and Updates from HWF
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A Quick Raptor Monitor Update: Oct 27, 2022

Post by davidh » Thu Dec 15, 2022 4:55 am


A Quick Raptor Monitor Update: Oct 27, 2022

Hi All: what a great 2022 in terms of new Monitors - sorry I have been late in getting all your notes transferred to my MASTER Data Base. This was such a busy year as we had to build 12 eagle nests for developers. Now we are about to assess if, as usual, we get them all occupied by the returning eagles.

So, for 2023 I hope you are all getting ready for the leaves to fall to facilitate getting lots of observations. While we always hope for a minimum of 5 observations spread across the season, it is apparent from following a number of Monitors, particularly where some of you are making 20 to 30 observations per site, (sometimes a composite of several monitors reviewing the same nest!) that we get different AND BETTER results the more observations that are made. It is so obvious that two people can literally look up at the same nest a few seconds apart and “see different things”!! Only more observations get closer to the ‘truth’!

Note of Travel Write off: Don’t forget, the CRA gives a huge km write off – a year ago it was a tax credit of $0.57/km. This year with higher gas costs it will be more. All you need to do is keep a record of the km/day spent driving making us ‘Citizen Scientist Observations’ - we will send you a Tax Receipt to submit with your Taxes. To verify put down the region covered and possible nest # visited.

Help Needed areas:
Chilliwack and all areas north of Highway 7 areas need more monitors help. This excludes the North and West Vancouver regions in which Sally Mcdermott has a wonderful team of cooperating Monitors. However, I am sure she can even use more. Last week she and I met with the Capilano Golf & Country Club staff to plan the install of two CAMERAS in their new nest. We hope their board approves funding this install this coming week. And of course, we need more people for the interior, Gulf Island and Vancouver Island. Can we get a nest in the interior? On Vancouver Island? An osprey? A Golden eagle? Any Owl nests?

I sure appreciate some of your detailed reports with the fine inclusion of detailed photos. While photos are not essential, they help in several ways to offer more info. One of our Monitors JUST submits close-up images - and it is apparent if chicks are visible or not on her closeups. And of course, I can pretty much estimate the chick’s age. Quite effective.

For our new Interior Monitors: I now have the Google Earth Pro challenge solved and will be assigning all your new Bald Eagle & Osprey Nests their official Nest Numbers shortly - hopefully before I go away for a week to California. I hope to get to one of the California Condor sites. Wow – on our recent trip to the OK I was impressed with just how many eagle and osprey nests line your shorelines. Wonderful work finding them. I suspect you will eventually have a 100+ of each species. Thanks.

The same thanks of course applies to all the other monitors, and it is so great that many of you have been able to note when eagles simply had to move a few dozen meters and establish a new nest. This is always exciting and begs the question of: Why did they change nests? Sometimes this is obvious – their other nest fell, or the tree blew over. At other times we might well expect that there was a change in partners. Perhaps the female is new. As is often, but not always the case, the new lady demands a new home. But that is all I will say on that!

Sometime the change is not explained – immediately. In a couple of cases, after wondering why the pair moved, was it some local disturbance that caused the pair to move. Then, midsummer, the nest just fell out of the tree. The eagles were of course nesting safely in their new nest, and we now know that they had detected this challenge to their nest tree before we did. Eagles are always smarter than we give them credit for. The big question is: Have the eagles been disturbed by some local activity? Can this be prevented in the future? You, our local monitors are best positioned to deal with this. The first step is to call the local RAPP Line - where violations are reported: 1 877 952-7277. THEN if you don’t get an immediate response, call the local media - they are usually keen to help with such a good local story. Then, if the nest is part of our Monitoring project, we can start to document how to prevent more disturbances. Finding and recording the nests is the first key step to saving them.

Quick Note on the fall season: I did visit nearly 30 nests yesterday and while most adults are already back, the big surprise is that I don’t think I saw ANY northern migrants yet in the valley. All the eagles were near a nest. I only saw a few eagles on the Harrison the day before and it was apparent that the world’s largest gathering place for bald eagles was yet devoid of migrants. The few eagles present would have been accounted for by the local nests. Actually, this is not to be unexpected. We have had a totally warm late summer and early fall. The north has not yet started to freeze up - and to be honest the cold weather does not usually drive the eagles south until early through late November. Most will have heard my comments in the past, that our peak for the presence of the northern migrants is about the 12th of December. Most people are talking about a delayed fall but the driving force of ‘freeze-up’ does not normally happen for a bit yet. So, let’s not push it!!! Winter is still likely to come! The biggest challenge at the moment is the lack of water, particularly cold water, to welcome the spawning salmon. I started this note 3 days ago and our long summer drought was still holding. The past two days have welcomed some much needed rains. Now we await the freezing weather to drive the eagles south.

If you or your friends want a wonderful daytime activity, please go out and record our raptors - particularly the nesting birds. Don’t forget, the CRA gives a Tax credit for your km driven - a small but meaningful acknowledgement to our Citizen Scientist’s contribution to conservation.

Much thanks to the monitors and many good, exciting hours of finding raptor homes. Getting a more intimate knowledge of your local eagles is like knowing when to squeeze your partners hand or smile. You will be contributing to knowledge on how to keep them safe. Thanks

David Hancock
[email protected]

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