An eagle overlooking Roberts Bay in Sidney is caring for three eaglets and one Red-Tailed hawk in its large nest. (Steven Heywood/News staff)

An eagle overlooking Roberts Bay in Sidney is caring for three eaglets and one Red-Tailed hawk in its large nest. (Steven Heywood/News staff)

Birders a-twitter over Sidney-area eagles caring for a guest in their nest

Eagles in Sidney appear to be feeding a Red-Tailed hawk chick, setting of wild speculation as to why

An unusual pairing is being watched closely by wildlife experts and enthusiasts alike at the end of a treed lane in Sidney.

A large eagles’ nest at the end of Third Street overlooking Shoal Harbour, is the home to three eaglets. And while that in itself is somewhat unusual, it’s the guest in the nest that has birders all a-twitter.

The eagles have been feeding and taking care of Red-Tailed hawk chicks. At first there were two, but observers are saying now there is only the one left. David Hancock, an eagle specialist who started the Hancock Wildlife Foundation and who operates live-streaming Eagle Cams in some 400 locations, says what is rare, is the eagles are raising so many young.

“What is rare here is the fact the eagles are not only raising three young (of their own) … this pair is a consistent three-chick pair,” he said. “The unusual thing this year is (the nest) had two Red-Tailed hawk chicks in it. But now it only has one.”

Hancock said the chicks were “probably stolen” as a food source for the eagles from a nearby hawk’s nest.

“And then the whole behaviour changes,” he continued. “It’s now in a nest where you don’t kill hooked-beak things that squawk and beg for food. You kill other things to feed the hooked-beak thing.”

However, the little hawk is apparently living a charmed life. Hancock added the young eagles could turn on the remaining guest.

“They certainly could. One quick jab aggressively, which they often are with each other, could do a little Red-Tail in hawk in. He’s lived a charmed life.”

He said he is not sure what happened to the second hawk chick that others described as being in the nest earlier.

Hancock added eagles and hawks are normally competitors for food sources and territory in the wild — but not overly so.

“And good wishes for this little rascal. We all wish him well,” Hancock said. “He’s got some other, bigger challenges to face coming up … he’s grown up with eagles. Is he going to think they are his buddies? The next eagle he encounters if he makes it off the nest isn’t likely going to think the same way, unfortunately.”

There have been a variety of people coming by to see the nest, including Victoria’s Sandra Jacobsen.

“I couldn’t pass this up,” she said I really didn’t think I’d get the chance to see the little guy. But I thought I’m going to wait here until he gets up, and he did. Just a great little guy. Terribly exciting.”

 

Sandra Jacobsen from Victoria rests on the back of her car as she observes the eagles’ nest. She said she had to come to Sidney to see the eagles and the baby hawk. (Steven Heywood/News staff)

Sandra Jacobsen from Victoria rests on the back of her car as she observes the eagles’ nest. She said she had to come to Sidney to see the eagles and the baby hawk. (Steven Heywood/News staff)

Just Posted

Cowichan Valley school district to get new electric-powered bus by the end of the school year. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley school district to get new electric-powered school bus

Bus one of 18 to be distributed across the province

Condemned building of the Twin Gables Motel in Crofton is not safe and yet a teen has been climbing around on the roof while others were ripping the siding off the building. (Submitted)
Destructive behaviour by teens wreaking havoc on Crofton

Residents becoming fed up with the constant vandalism and fires

This tractor was stolen from Providence Farm near Duncan between May 6 and 7, 2021. (Submitted)
Tractor stolen from Cowichan’s Providence Farm

John Deere X300 model was swiped between May 6 and 7

The organizers of the annual 39 days of July festival hope to return to live shows in Charles Hoey Park this year, like in this photo taken in 2019, but audiences at the show may be limited to 50 people due to health protocols. (File photo)
39 Days of July hoping for outdoor events in Duncan this summer

Annual music festival will run from June 25 to Aug. 2 this year

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

A nurse asks screening questions at an immunization appointment in Nanaimo earlier this year. (Shawn Wagar/Island Health photo)
Island Health appreciates nurses answering the call in challenging times

Health authority draws attention to National Nursing Week

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

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

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

These are just a handful of Vancouver Island’s missing person cases. Clockwise from top left: Lisa Marie Young, Lindsey Nicholls, Micheal Dunahee, Jesokah Adkens, Belinda Cameron and Emma Fillipoff. (File photos courtesy of family members and police departments)
Could Victoria skull fragment bring closure to an Island missing persons mystery?

Skeletal remains found in Greater Victoria have not yet been identified

Most Read