NEWS

Axed eagle's nest rebuilt by B.C. residents

07/04/2012 01:43 EDT | Updated 09/03/2012 05:12 EDT
A pair of bald eagles is resting safely in their new nest after some Vancouver Island residents scrambled to build them a new home when their old tree was chopped down.

Residents of Campbell River's Galerno Road were outraged and devastated in February when an eagle nest tree was cut down by a property owner.

Janis and Jim MacDougall said it was heartbreaking to watch as the displaced eagles tried without success to quickly build a new nest and became desperate to help.

So one day at the end of March, they recruited a tree-climbing friend who spent five hours atop one of the MacDougall's trees weaving a new nest with rope, branches, grass and leaves sent up by the work party below, along with bits of the old nest, and a big chunk of salmon for a housewarming gift.

Janis says the eagles watched the entire operation from a nearby tree.

"The next morning the eagles went in and they've been there ever since. They laid an egg pretty much right away."

It was April when the egg hatched. Since then the eagles have raising a young eaglet in their new home.

These days the MacDougall's are watching the nest for glimpses of the growing eaglet, which is soon expected to begin learning to fly.

"Everyone's just ecstatic. [It's] amazing that we were able to help. It really is," said MacDougall.

Maj Birch, the founder of the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society, said she has heard of few other cases of eagles taking over artificial nests, and praised the community's efforts.

"It is kind of heartwarming that people would go to that effort to try and reconstruct something that these birds could use. And what is amazing even more is that the birds took so readily to the nest," said Birch.

The Conservation Officer Service is investigating the possibility of charges under the Wildlife Act for the destruction of the original nest. The tree had been labeled with a Wildlife Tree tag under the provincial Wildlife Tree Stewardship (WiTS) program.

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