Monday in Bird World

There is news coming this morning from everywhere so this blog might feel a little disjointed.

In Canada, Prince Edward Island veterinary surgeons at the Atlantic Veterinary College will be the first to try and replace a broken spinal column in a Bald Eagle!

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-bald-eagle-surgery-1.6263782

A Eurasian Hobby has been seen for the first time in Australia. The tiny raptor is similar to the Australian Hobby. The bird has been named Hubert and is the care of a veterinary due to a wing injury. Raptor specialists believe that the arrival of this bird is associated with climate change.

Jean-Marie Dupart has provided his Osprey count along the coast in Senegal and the word he used was ‘incredible.’ 950 Ospreys have been counted for the month of November along the coast and marsh.

Chris MacCormack at the Royal Albatross Centre on Taiaroa Head announced that 29 eggs have been candled and all are fertile. Seven more to go!

Most of you will be aware of the flooding – and the continual flooding – in British Columbia, Canada. It is also flooding and tearing up highways and rail lines in parts of Eastern Canada. Mother Nature is not happy. Yesterday I listened to a conversation with Dr Christian Sasse and Dave Hancock, Hancock Wildlife, about the flooding and its impact on the wildlife. I tried to embed that link and the system that Christian is using will not allow me to do that – or even post it! So I will give you some of the highlights – they are very enlightening and sobering.

Sumas Lake was the largest wildlife area in Northwest North American prior to the nineteenth century. Millions of birds stopped at Sumas Lake coming and going from the Arctic. One of the attractions was the intense number of mosquitoes which were food for the wildlife but were highly annoying to the people of the area. The Indigenous Population lived on stilt houses because they recognized that the area flooded from time to time.

Wikimedia Commons

The area flooded the Fraser Valley before 1894. There was another huge flood that came down the Fraser River in 1948.

Wikimedia Commons

Sumas Lake was drained and pump stations installed so that people could build on the flood plain. In 1990 and now in 2021, the main highway connecting Canada, the Trans-Canada or number 1 highway, has flooded. Dave Hancock was unequivocal: The Sumas Lake wants to be Sumas Lake! The flooding this year was compounded by the waters from the US flowing into the Fraser River. The Nooksak River.

Today 35-50,000 Bald Eagles winter in the Fraser Valley. They are in dire straits. They have lost their supply of food, the salmon, because of the flooding. The large land mammals could walk out (perhaps) but the smaller mammals and rodents which many falcons and hawks live on were drown in the flood waters. Dave Hancock is proposing that the carcasses of the dead cattle that are normally sent to Alberta to be burnt in the Tar Sands be kept in British Columbia. He is suggesting that half a dozen feeding stations be set up with these carcasses for the Bald Eagles. Hancock reminds everyone that the eagles are clever and will find the feeding stations. He also said that once the flood waters are pumped out the eagles will also find the carcasses of the salmon.

I like Dave Hancock. This man loves wildlife and the Bald Eagles and he doesn’t hold back any punches. He says the balance of nature has been lost in the area. The heat that the region experienced in the summer was just another indication of the impact of climate change. He says as it continues to warm the bird and fish eggs will not be viable. They are really susceptible to the slightest change in temperature. He reminded everyone that heat stress killed many raptors during the summer of 2021 as did the raging wildfires in the same area as the flooding. Several raptors were saved. Hancock Wildlife Foundation put trackers on them. He said once they were out of rehab they flew straight north to Alaska. Hancock wonders if they will return to British Columbia. It was a very sobering conversation and one that continually emphasized how human degradation of the environment is causing a huge shift to the extreme weather conditions impacting the birds and animals. Christian Sasse asked Dave Hancock if he had a solution and Hancock said, ‘It is the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about.’ He continued, ‘There are far too many people in the world. Human animals need to stop breeding.’

This is the link to the Hancock Wildlife Foundation. (He is Canada’s equivalent of Roy Dennis!). You can find the tracking information and the live streaming cams that the Foundation supports.

There has been an update by Cilla re Yurruga:

Nov 29: “No sign of Yurruga today. I looked for him at the roost trees this afternoon after seeing a raptor (possibly Diamond) there earlier (too far for photo). I’ve looked every day, but he’s not been seen since last Thursday when spotted on a roof. It’s of concern, but he might simply be well hidden.”

Speaking of Peregrine Falcons, their range is expanding and they are returning to upper New York State. Some of you, if you have gone on Ferris Akel’s tour, will have seen the Peregrine Falcons roosting on the Bradfield Building near to where Arthur and Big Red normally roost. Here is a great article about this change.

I am not seeing any other updates on raptors we have been monitoring this Monday morning.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Take care everyone. See you soon.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams or FB pages where I took my images: Jean-Marie Dupart FB posting, NZ DOC Royal Albatross Centre FB, and Wikimedia Commons.

5 Comments

  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Thank you Mary Ann for this newsletter!
    The small raptor Hobby is very pretty in the photo. I don’t think I heard of this kind before. The amount of ospreys in the Senegal area is awesome! The info provided is very interesting from Hancock. I watch the eagle nests there every season but I didn’t know about the ospreys. Thank you for all this !
    Have a great day and take care!
    Linda

    1. You are very welcome, Linda. Those tiny raptors are so pretty. I want to look them up in that big book! I understand that is an enormous number of ospreys in Senegal. And that is good news. We surely need some good news. Dave Hancock is so dedicated. I am glad you watch those eagle nests. Him and Christian Sasse are very interesting. I did a little research on past floods and wiping out the road, etc. It very much seems that lake wants to be a lake! That would certainly be wonderful for the wildlife. We have family in Langley and they are on notice of evacuation.

  2. Thank you for this report as well, Mary Ann. David Hancock is the one who streamed that first nest I ever watched about 15 years ago – in B.C. (I’ve been trying to remember the names of the two eaglets in that nest. We called them “Big” and “Lil” at first until they had official names.) Also agree with everything he said and support his cause. The northwest corner of Washington state shared in the terrible flooding. (I live about 200 miles south of the area.) Someday I hope humanity will evolve…. and become protectors of the Earth instead of the bane that it is. Gaia weeps….

    1. You are very welcome. I wish I had been able to share the link. It just would not let me. I want to see if I can find it again. Yes, Dave Hancock is our own Roy Dennis or Attenborough. He is a wonderful and very wise man. And you are so very right. We have to become fierce protectors of our Earth. I just received a note that Poland is building a fence in a major forest where the animals cross country boundaries and that the birds and animals are beginning to die. What a terrible place humans create.

      1. So sad about the fence in Poland! Humans can be so arrogant, unfeeling, and short-sighted….

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