Hornby Island Eagles

The Eagles of Hornby Island Web Cam

Three years ago millions watched the Hornby Island Eagles lay two eggs - but neither egg hatched.  The next year the eagles laid another two eggs that hatched and fledged – “Thunder” and “Lightning”.  However, nobody got to see them because the winter storms had knocked out the cameras.

This year the eagles are back to their nest again and the cameras are working.  The eagles are adding more branches, greenery and grass to the nest in preparation for egg laying, normally occurring in the last week of March.

This is their 20th year of nesting.  They have produced 17 eaglets to date.  Assuming they were 6 years of age before their first year of nesting, they are now 26 years of age.  The oldest recorded age for eagles in the wild is 30 years.

Of interest, northern eagles lay their eggs later than southern eagles.  Two eagles at Redding, California have just laid eggs on February 6 and Feb 9.  The Saanich eagles, (near Victoria, BC) laid two eggs on March 1 and March 4.  The Hornby eagles will probably be three weeks later yet.  Also of interest, are the names given last year’s eaglets.  Saanich had three eaglets named “Freddie”, “Sunny”, and “Angel”.  The Redding eaglets were named “Patriot” and  “Freedom”.


Eagle nesting

Doug Carrick, of Hornby Island, BC, Canada has been observing an eagle nest for 15 years.  In September 2004, while the eagles were away on migration, he had a video camera installed immediately above the nest.  A co-axial cable runs 120 feet down the tree, across the street and into the TV set in his house.  Each morning he turns on the TV and there is the nest.  When interesting activities are occurring, he records it on videotape.

He then edited six tapes down to a 36-minute tape showing only the most interesting parts. He has shown this video to many different groups. 

 The eagles mated at various time from late January to early March, laid the first egg on March 21, followed by a second egg on March 25, four days later.   The eggs usually take about 35 days to hatch (38 days last year) and should hatch around April 27 or soon after.  In the meantime the eagles take turns sitting on the eggs and later will take turns feeding the chicks and sitting on them to keep them warm.

It is difficult to tell the male eagle from the female eagle.  The female is larger, has larger feet and a larger, heavier beak – but not easy to detect.  The one nearer the camera appears larger.  The female is more aggressive, the male more complacent.  This was very obvious earlier in the season when they were bringing branches to the nest and putting them in place.  The female was definitely boss of the nest.  The female has a distinctive feather, midway on her lower left side.  This feather has a definite white streak or line on it.

The Eagles of Hornby Island Web Cam