From CTV.ca News Staff
Second eagle-cam egg proves a dud in B.C. nest
Hopes have been dashed for millions of bird enthusiasts who have kept a watchful eye on a B.C. eagles’ nest — via webcam — in anticipation of the hatching of two eggs.
One of the eggs disappeared from the Hornby Island nest last week, leaving observers to pin their hopes on the second egg.
However, Doug Carrick, whose backyard has been home to the birds for 17 years, confirmed Friday the second egg was a dud.
Carrick said all that is left now is a cracked shell, but there is no evidence of a chick.
David Hancock, a biologist who helped bring the eagles’ day to day activities to a global audience, said the eagles are close to the end of their reproductive cycle and may have lost the ability to reproduce successfully.
The eagles did produce two eggs last year. Both hatched, though one died soon after.
The eagle-cam phenomenon has drawn millions of people from around the world to the website, watching day by day as the eagles took turns caring for the eggs and hunting for food.
However, Hancock isn’t about to close the window into the daily lives of local eagles.
He is currently scouting out potential locations to mount another web cam. He has already located a nest in Powell River that has three chicks, and another in Saanich with at least one.
Hancock hopes to have cameras installed and online soon, though both locations are more remote and more difficult to connect than the Hornby site.
“Now the bottom line is, with all those kids out there (viewing) having learned that real life can be harsh, now we’re going to show them chicks that do survive,” Hancock told the Victoria Times Colonist newspaper.
Meanwhile, Carrick, 73, plans to keep the webcam installed at the nest behind his house, so he can continue viewing the day to day life of his eagle neighbours.
He was disappointed that the eagles didn’t produce young, and viewers around the world weren’t able to watch the rearing process.
“I was sort of hoping we’d have one chick because the best part of this for all the viewers would have been from now on,” Carrick said.
“It’s really something to see a big adult tear off a little bit of fish and so gently put it on the mouth of the chick.”
More than 10 million page views have been recorded since the webcam went online.
Late last week there were breathless reports that one of the eggs had begun to hatch, and a chick’s head could be seen emerging from the shell.
After taking a second look at the footage, Carrick said he was mistaken and it was just a piece of fluff.