BC Hydro: Fix your “killing poles”

26 July 2022

It is midnight on the Canadian Prairies, 25 July. There is thunder and lighting and the rain is coming down like the 1600 monsoon in Chennai in July — or like Karachi yesterday when that city got a year’s worth of rain in one day. Each of us wants to have a purpose in life, to make a difference. You can join with others today to do just that.

Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Malala and Junior

That quote is worth remembering every time we want to accomplish something bigger than ourselves. Today, of course, I am talking about getting BC Hydro to ‘do the right thing’ and honour Junior’s death with positive action. BC Hydro needs to demonstrate that they are up to the challenge of making every hydro pole in the lower mainland of British Columbia safe for our feathered friends! Nothing short of a commitment to that goal is acceptable.

The story of Junior and Malala spread around the world in the same way that the story of Stepan Vokic’s rescue and care of Malena in 1993 did — and, of course, the love that Vokic had in caring for both Malena and her scrawny mate, Klepetan, and their 66 children. We cried and laughed and hoped as the little hawklet that came to the nest as prey became a loving part of the eagle family. Their story took us away from a world that is too full of despair to a place where we saw ‘hope’. Hope for each of us as well as that little hawklet.

The international community is stepping up and helping GROWLS with examples of other hydro companies who do not hesitate but, who rush to action when they hear of a bird in desperate need. The latest rescue of a juvenile Osprey caught on a hydro pole in Connecticut from one of my favourite wildlife rehab clinics in the US, A Place Called Hope (APCH) took place Sunday evening. Have a read! It is inspiring.

There is the young Osprey being rescued!

Those who had the ability to step into action and help this young Osprey did not hesitate. They did not stop taking phone calls after hours – they answered the phone and got the proper staff out immediately. This is what we expect from BC Hydro. No more excuses. No more relying on antiquated sections of their founding documents to hedge their responsibilities. No more closing their eyes to the situation. BC Hydro is more than aware of the eagles that are killed on its power poles. We want action.

https://bc.ctvnews.ca/quite-disturbing-5-bald-eagles-electrocuted-on-hydro-poles-1.3234031?fbclid=IwAR2Yq1nVVikg_aD0TNhSa6cmjXxgMxNM9ekx3e0EQTGXkDI22SUqz1yKsXw

BC Hydro does fund OWLS with an annual donation. They have even worked on some projects with OWLS. For those who do not know, OWLS is the only raptor rehab in the lower mainland of British Columbia. Of course, OWLS relies on this generous donation but, it also compromises them so that they cannot speak out. That is where we come in. We do not have any conflicts of interest. We are a growing number of international bird lovers who believe that all life on this planet is to be valued and respected. We treasure our relationship with the natural world and so many of us know precisely what our feathered friends meant to us during the darkest days of the pandemic. We have learned so much about these raptor families. We have watched them care for their chicks, we have wished for food, we have stayed up at night if there were storms brewing that might harm them and their nests. We have also learned that many of their challenges are due to humans. In this case, our need for electrical power – no matter where we live – puts their lives in danger. The Ospreys were on this planet 60 million years ago. Fossil records indicate that Bald Eagles were here about 1 million years ago. Of course, as more evidence is found these numbers could change with both being here even longer.

Three months ago few of you knew about Gabriola Island and the Bald Eagle family and its streaming cam. Today, GROWLS has 4.1 Facebook Friends that want to make a difference. If you have not stepped up to send an e-mail to BC Hydro, then I invite you to do so today. It takes only minutes to send an e-mail but the impact of these e-mails can bring dramatic change. BC Hydro knows that their power poles are killing ever large number of Bald Eagles each year….this has to stop. It is wonton disregard. If BC Hydro wants to really be a supporter of wildlife then it is time to prove it – not just by a generous donation – but by also undertaking to stop placing killing poles throughout the province of British Columbia.

In 2018, Christian Sasse did an on line Q & A about electrocution and the power poles. He is planning on another (I do not have the time). Here is that earlier broadcast:

The American Eagle Foundation wrote an article about protecting birds from power poles. This along with Christian Sasse’s video gives us some of the knowledge to understand that BC Hydro can and must amend the size of their power poles but, also, undertake measures to make already erected power poles safe. Arm yourself with knowledge and the facts — it will certainly help when you write your letters!

https://www.eagles.org/take-action/avian-friendly-power-lines/?fbclid=IwAR2Yq1nVVikg_aD0TNhSa6cmjXxgMxNM9ekx3e0EQTGXkDI22SUqz1yKsXw

Here is an article on how the power poles that are already in place can be retrofitted to be safe for our feathered friends.

PG&E Installs Protective Devices on Power Poles in South Bay Where Bald Eagles Rest and Dine

I copied the following contact information from GROWLS. Send an e-mail, do a follow up to see if BC Hydro is doing anything in response to Junior’s electrocution, and then take the time to go to Twitter and make a comment! We cannot let up. GROWLS is working tirelessly. They need our help and they need us to have good examples of power companies coming to the rescue like the one from A Place Called Hope. — At the end of the day, BC Hydro wants to be the ‘good company on the block’ not one standing there with egg on their face.

 The main email addresses is connectwithus@bchydro, and you can also comment on BCHydro’s FaceBook page at https://fb.watch/eqz1O6X8nS/ , or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bchydro/status/1550289683623575554 The Facebook and Twitter links are direct to BCHydro’s post about Junior’s death

This issue is not exclusive to British Columbia but what is unique to Canada’s most western province is the sheer number of Bald Eagles that call the lower mainland home. British Columbia is home to the largest population of North American Bald Eagles. No other province of Canada or US state can make this claim. That said, all large raptor species that can land on these power poles ——–and the poles where you live — need to be safe! There is no excuse. We know the problem and we also have the solution at hand.

Thank you!

Tragic news from Gabriola Island

20 July 2022

We fell in love with the Bald Eagle family on Gabriola Island off the coast of British Columba who adopted the Red-tail Hawk into their family instead of having it for dinner. Sadly, news has come today that the juvenile eaglet on the nest, Junior, was electrocuted. This is tragic news.

We have lost many of our feathered friends from these power poles. When will be able to say that we did well for our birds by making every power pole safe? Their lives are challenging enough. Ask your electric company what they are doing to protect our raptors!

My condolences go out to our Eagle family, to Malala who will miss her bestie, and to everyone at GROWLS.

Summer Solstice in Bird World!

21 June 2022

In the northern hemisphere, this is the day when the earth is tilted at its maximum to the sun – the longest sunny day. It has been pitching down rain and now….the sun is shining bright and the temperatures have dropped from the blistering 38 to a mere 20 C. The birds are active and the air conditioning is turned off. Nice. Today I will be sorting through all the things that were in Little Red’s penthouse looking for tomato cages. With the heat and the rain, the tomato plants are almost as tall as I am – seriously. But, let’s see what is happening with our birds, first.—–Oh, and now it is clouding over again and the torrential rain is back. Goodness. I sure hope our City imported a lot of Dragon flies this year to eat those mosquitoes.

The Canadian celebrities continue to be the little hawklet who is living with the Bald Eagles on Gabriola Island in British Columbia. Malala is very cute – and one lucky Red-tail hawklet. Of course, he thinks he is an Eagle! Doing well. Branched the other day. Can you imagine? This wildlife rehab group just put up the camera a few months prior to the eagles arriving and now they are the talk of Bird World? This is a good interview by CBC radio.

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-the-monday-edition-1.6495076/an-eagle-snatched-a-baby-hawk-for-dinner-then-ended-up-adopting-it-1.6495246?fbclid=IwAR2T_4Mhw4tgXNvli_SHd6xDPlr1aMWUOx1q-QsoBwDbH3Ef8p9nb7KN0rw

The fledglings at the UFlorida-Gainesville Osprey platform continue to return to the nest for food and sometimes just to have a quick rest. Gosh, these two are doing really well after a very rocky start on this nest. They are waiting for the tea time fish drop!

What gorgeous birds these two have turned out to be. They know where home is. I wonder if they have been trying to fish on their own yet?

I was able to get some more information about the history of the Mispillion Harbour Ospreys. The woman at the DuPont Centre is not certain that this is the same couple that were on the nest when the camera was installed. Lynn Pussey said, “We’ve generally had good success with our nest, with 2-3 successful fledgelings each year. The only exception to that was 2017 when we lost one chick early on to siblicide and the other two to illness. This year was odd because we had 4 eggs but only 2 hatch. But those two are healthy and growing. Other than that, we usually see all eggs hatch and all chicks successfully fledge.”

 

I wonder if these chicks will be prone to bringing bright coloured material to their nests in a few years?

Little Bit 17 at the ND-LEEF nest just proves that being small is not a hindrance when you are confident. Mum landed with something – I could not see it – and Little Bit mantled right away. One of the big siblings came and took a little piece but Little Bit held on and ate ‘it’! So impressed. 17 is so quick – just like the hawklet in the Bald Eagle nest at Gabriola Island.

Here is Little Bit 17 mantling and hanging on to its food. Take that 16!

Bukachek and Betty’s four White Storklets at Mlade Buky were ringed this morning.

Whatever was happening at the Loch of the Lowes dissipated yesterday when Laddie delivered 7 fish. He has already gotten a good start to this morning and Blue NC0 and the chicks are very happy. They should be ringing these two osplets soon.

The Welsh sunrise is really beautiful. There is always a soft pink glow over the Glaslyn Valley and the nest of Aran and Mrs G.

Aran has been letting out intruder calls in the afternoon around 15:50 but it didn’t stop him from getting Mrs G and the kids a nice fish.

101 votes have been cast guessing the gender of the three osplets at the Dyfi nest of Idris and Telyn. It is a record. GGB is still out ahead with 40 of those votes! We will find out next week when they are ringed. So happy for the interest in this great Osprey family in Wales.

As KG and I said on the chat – the guessing of the genders adds a bit of fun to ringing day — it does. We can all use a smile these days.

It was a beautiful morning at Loch Garten. Mrs AX6 is looking good. She is a great mum.

Later in the day you can see the unviable egg and the two little Osplets.

Just look at those three big females with their bling at the Manton Bay nest of Blue 33 and Maya. I would sure welcome some of that sunshine!!!!!!! It is interesting. At Manton Bay there was no aggression this year — three females. At Port Lincoln Osprey barge last year, no aggression — all males. It is often when you have a female chick with males where you see all the beaking. Females require more food because they have to grow 1/3 larger and they are often very aggressive. Think ND16 at the LD-LEEF Bald Eagle nest.

June 20 was Bald Eagle Day in the US. I forgot. For all who celebrated, belated Happy Eagle Day!

Mr President has brought in two fish already to DC9 Takoda this morning! This is the second delivery. Everything is going as it should. Takoda fledged and is returning to the nest to be fed while getting those flying muscles strong — and take off and landings improved.

As the sun comes up on the Channel Islands, Sky is home alone at the West End nest of Thunder and Akecheta.

It isn’t long until Sky is joined by his younger brother, Ahote. Everyone is waiting for Akecheta to bring in some fish for breakfast. And never fear, Kana’kini is somewhere around the island and will no doubt fly in hoping to get some fish, too.

Chase and Cholyn’s Lancer has been getting some good air and doing some high hovering in the past few days. She is sure a beautiful eagle!

I am really glad that Kaia was not successful in eliminating one of the three healthy chicks on the Karula Forest Black Stork nest. They are all doing well and Karl II just brought in a heaping load of fish for them. What is interesting is watching them now as they stimulate the feeding by doing a special wing flap and lowering and raising their heads. So cute! And they are so nice and fat. These are doing super well and food does not seem to be an issue!

Jan and Janika’s Black Storklets in the care of the Vet Clinic were ringed. They should be moved to the forest enclosure soon – they are thinking 24 June. Today they are 30 days old. How lovely – so grateful to those folks who made it possible for these three to survive.

This morning Lindsay returned to The Campanile and she is chasing a moth! Look at the influence of Alden – both Lindsay and Grinnell Jr love chasing moths. So cute. It is also nice to know that both are safe and doing well. They certainly are loud!!!!!!!!

It continues to pour – just like the monsoon rains in SE Asia. Incredible. I am going to turn the AC off and get a sweater. The thunder is rolling and the temperature has really dropped.

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

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams and/or FB pages where I took my screen captures and their videos: Cal Falcons, Liz M and the EMU, Eagle Club of Estonia, Mlade Buky Storks, Explore.org and the Institute for Wildlife Studies, NADC-AEF, LRWT, Friends of Loch Arkaig, People’s Post Code Lottery and the Woodland Trust, RSPB Loch Garten, Dyfi Osprey Project, Bywyd Gwyllt Glaslyn, Mispillion Harbour Osprey Cam and DDNR, Friends of Loch of the Lowes and the Scottish Wildlife Trust, UFlorida-Gainesville Ospreys, and the ND-LEEF.