Bad news for Hornby Island eagles; nest down to one egg, second may not hatch
Updated Tue. May. 2 2006 11:00 AM ET
VICTORIA (CP) – It’s bad news from Hornby Island where two bald eagles have been lovingly tending a tree top nest and its two eggs for weeks while millions of Internet surfers eagerly anticipated a fluffy baby eagle birth,Doug Carrick said Monday.
Carrick secretly set up a camera above the eagle nest in his backyard on the east coast of Vancouver Island that has been broadcasting Internet images of the doting eagle parents to millions of viewers.
He said he looked at the nest early Monday and saw there was only one egg left. There was no sign of a newborn eagle chick and there were no remains of the egg in the nest or at the bottom of the tree in is yard, he said.
Carrick, a retired accountant, said the chick could have died inside the egg or the egg was infertile from the start.
“Of course I still hope that one will survive, that would be lovely,” he said. “We just have to wait now.”
Carrick, 73, said last year’s eagle nest yielded only one egg. He said the eagle pair, who he believes have been returning to the nest for 17 years, are well past their productive years.
“As I tried to warn people earlier, these are getting to be elderly eagles and their success rate has not been as good in the last few years as it was in their first years,” he said.
The second egg should hatch Tuesday, said Carrick. It’s been in the nest for 38 days, but its survival is also in doubt because a healthy chick would already have started pecking its way out of the shell last weekend.
Eagle eggs are expected to hatch about 35 days after they are laid.
Carrick made a premature birth announcement last Friday when he thought he saw a chick break through its egg shell, but later realized it was only feather fluff from the nest.
He said he was suffering from eagle fever when he posted the early notice about the birth.
Carrick’s eagle nest webcam has been a worldwide Internet smash. A Vancouver-based company helping broadcast the Internet images says the site has had more than 100 million hits.
The images broadcast on the Internet are so clear viewers can see the wind ruffle the feathers of the adult eagles.