Here's a case study

Wayne C. Weber contopus at shaw.ca
Wed Mar 6 17:58:55 PST 2002


Jack and Tweeters,

There is one big difference between revealing the location of a Bald
Eagle nest and the location of a Painted Bunting. Bald Eagle nests are
commonplace in Washington, especially in the San Juan Islands and
Puget Sound area. A couple of years ago, the statewide tally was 664
active Bald Eagle nests in Washington. Personally, I wouldn't walk 10
feet out of my way to see an eagle nest; I've seen scores if not
hundreds in my life, and most are easily viewed from a distance. A
Bald Eagle nest is not likely to generate a crowd of birders; a first
state record of Painted Bunting is.

The issues are somewhat different here. With the Painted Bunting, the
issue is disturbance to the property owners. With the eagles, the
issue is disturbance to the birds themselves. As you indicate, this
pair seems somewhat tolerant of close approach (not all eagles are).
Furthermore, eagle nests are so conspicuous that it is almost
pointless to try to keep a nest location secret.

The same reasoning does NOT apply to known nest-sites of many other
raptors (including most owls), or birds on federal or state threatened
and endangered lists. In general, I believe that active nest sites of
such species should NOT be widely publicized.

Given a choice, I would be far more concerned about the welfare of the
birds themselves than I would be about the sensibilities of a property
owner.

Wayne C. Weber
Kamloops, BC
contopus at shaw.ca


----- Original Message -----
From: Jack Kintner <kintner at nas.com>
To: <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2002 11:14 AM
Subject: Here's a case study



> There's an active eagle nest in Blaine, quite well known in the

area, in a tree that overhangs a thoroughfare used by thousands of
cars and trucks per day. You can drive nearly to the base of the tree
on two sides, and it sits in a vacant lot that's been for sale for
some time by an absentee landowner so no one worries about
trespassing.

> The pair that used it last year fledged two young birds, and they're

hanging out again this spring, necking and _____ing and fixing up the
nest and generally being oblivious to anything going on around them,
ain't love grand.

> The neighbors fall into two groups, one that hasn't noticed (I guess

because the birds haven't been on Oprah yet) and a larger group that
protects them like momma bear does her cubs. Little boys with
slingshots have had their little asses kicked back home. Natives
(from Canada, or at least riding in a B.C. car) looking to poach
feathers late one night by leaping over the fence at the base of the
tree separating it from the traffic have been shot at with BB guns
(it's still America) before being arrested by the local PD. The
realtor's order to cut the tree was forestalled by a state game agent,
who later said, "We'd NEVER look for an eagle's nest there. Glad you
called."

> It's been written up in the Blaine Birding Guide and is pointed out

by many others every day. The neighbors are fine with people coming
to look, and if you wish you could even come to a neighborhood
Eagle-watching barbecue later in the spring. Think of Blaine as a
friendly place to bird but not to poach or molest animals. We'll even
take a wounded possum to the rescue shelter.

> The best approach, opposite from the thoroughfare, is on a dead-end

residential street that approaches nearly to the base of the tree and
makes a dandy place to stop and get out and watch from less than half
a block away. Woe betide those who do not respect these birds, say the
neighbors, always watching, but a drive-by look is fine.

>

> So. Should I reveal its location to the much wider audience on this

network? Tell just a few people? Keep it quiet so the falconers or
Indian feather merchants don't raid it, or the birdlorn drive them
away? Even if you know where it is, what's your vote?

>

> And until we hear from a few people, if you want the exact location

or an image of them let me know (or someone tell me where to post the
jpeg file).

>

>

> Jack Kintner <kintner at nas.com> Blaine, WA

>




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