Despite having a broken leg, South Surrey eagle continues to care for young

Despite having a broken leg, South Surrey eagle continues to care for young

Wildlife foundation will not catch injured bird

Despite having what appears to be a broken leg, an eagle that has taken residency in Surrey’s first bald-eagle reserve is exhibiting the power of motherhood.

Eagle specialist and Hancock Wildlife Foundation director David Hancock alerted Peace Arch News to the injured bird this week.

The eagle is nesting in South Surrey’s Douglas neighbourhood, in an area set aside as a bald-eagle reserve that was created last year in conjunction with the construction of a nearby townhome development.

Hancock and his team, as part of a deal with developer Dawson & Sawyer, built the framework for a nest in the ‘The Eagles’ development near 0 Avenue and 172 Street.

RELATED: Camera installed at Surrey eagle preserve

A pair of eagles finished the build this spring, and made it their South Surrey home.

Hancock hosts a 24-hour live-stream of the eagle nest on his website.

He said the mother was spotted on video feeding her young and “limping” around her nest.

Hancock told PAN Sunday that he considered catching the eagle and bringing her to a vet, but instead he will allow nature to take its course, which, drawing from his experience, might be for the best.

About four years ago, one of the eagles Hancock was tracking – based in Delta – snapped her leg after getting in a fight.

“The leg was literally snapped off, it was flopping back and fourth. We thought that was the end of her and she was about to lay eggs,” Hancock said.

RELATED: Map tracks GPS-equipped bald eagles throughout Surrey

Hancock said the mother “flopped” over in the nest, and laid there for about a month while her partner brought her food.

“A month later that damn leg was solid. It was slightly out of position… It wasn’t perfectly straight, it was a bit sideways. But she could still contract her claw.”

The Delta eagle, Hancock said, ended up outliving two males.

Despite the injury, the South Surrey eagle continues to hunt and bring back food for her young. Hancock said the foundation decided, as a group, to let her be.

“I would have to take her to a vet. The dad would have to look after the kids totally by himself, and we’ve seen her bring food in,” Hancock said. “I don’t think we could justify intruding. As much as I want to catch her, I think I will bypass her.”

As for the young, they’ve grown considerably since they hatched from their eggs in March. Hancock said the two eaglets will leave the nest in a matter of weeks. Completely brown in colour, the eagles will begin to show a white head after five years.

RELATED: Eggs in South Surrey bald-eagle perserve hatch

Hancock said the mother will only enter the nest to feed her young, or if it’s raining.

“If there was a big pouring rain you would see an interesting phenomenon. Mom would come in and perform what we call a ‘mumbrella,’” Hancock said.

“Mom comes in and she stands over them and holds her wings over the chicks, even when they’re almost fully grown, giving them protection from the weather. It’s kind of neat.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Items collected from last year’s Ocean Park Food Drive. (Contributed file photo)
Ocean Park Food Drive expands, open to residents south of 32 Avenue

Homeowners south of 32 Avenue and west of 160 Street encouraged to put donations on doorstep

(Black Press Media files)
‘Potentially damaging’ winds expected in Metro Vancouver

Wind is expected to pick up late Sunday night

Bella Coola RCMP are alerting residents that the road between 4 Mile subdivision and downtown will be closed until at least tomorrow. (File image)
Missing man found safe, Surrey RCMP said

Riley Arnold- Higgenbottom was last seen at 1:30 p.m., Nov. 28 in the 18900-block of 69 A Avenue

An animated Gordie Hogg introduces his 'Community Connections' videos. (YouTube screenshot)
Community Connections: Gordie Hogg speaks with Kathy McIntyre

Former mayor, MP began posting conversations on YouTube in June

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Langley RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the Riverside Calvary church in Langley in the 9600 block of 201 Street for holding an in-person service on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, despite a provincial COVID-19 related ban (Dan Ferguson/Black Press Media)
Updated: Langley church fined for holding in-person Sunday service

Calvary church was fined $2,300 for defying provincial order

The Abbotsford Police Department is investigating a shooting on Adair Avenue on Saturday night. (Photo by Dale Klippenstein)
Drive-by shooting in Abbotsford targeted home with young children, police say

Investigators believe home was mistakenly targeted by assailants

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

Most Read