Photo: David the Eagle: Hornby Island eaglet named after David Suzuki

David and his sister Alexandra are less than a month old (Credit: Doug Carrick)

By Kealy Doyle, Communications Coordinator

Meet David. Less than a month old, he's the latest addition to a nesting family of bald eagles on Hornby Island, the focus of a popular webcam run by Doug and Sheila Carrick.

David's snowy-white head might not have grown in yet, but bald eagles are one of the most recognizable birds of prey. They're found across North America but are especially numerous in Canada and Alaska. They prefer to settle near large bodies of water (Hornby Island sits in the Strait of Georgia) where they have easy access to an abundance of prey: fish.

While he might not look like much now, he and his sister, Alexandra (after the marine biologist Alexandra Morton), will eventually weigh anywhere between three and seven kilograms with a six- to eight-foot wingspan that will dwarf an average man. He'll reach speeds of 48-70km/h in flight and dive for trout and salmon at up to 160km/h.

David and Alexandra, who hatched around the beginning of May, aren't the first of the brood. Their parents are believed to be around 26 years old; the average lifespan of wild eagles is around 28-30, although they live much longer in captivity. In that time, they've hatched 18 eaglets, although sadly not all have survived. Mom and dad will probably be around a while longer, though—bald eagles mate for life and usually return to the same nest year after year to raise new offspring.

The webcam was first set up in 2004 after Doug Carrick became curious about the pair's nest in a Douglas fir in his backyard. Since then, millions have tuned in and formed a sizeable online community, including a non-profit organization established in 2009 to support the webcam and encourage appreciation and stewardship of wildlife and the environment.

Tune in to watch David and Alexandra in the nest!

May 18, 2011
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/panther-lounge/2011/05/david-the-eagle-hornby-island-eaglet-named-after-david-suzuki/

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3 Comments

May 19, 2011
11:10 AM

You might be as enchanted as we are that David the eagle (the little guy furthest from the camera in your screencap collage) has perpetual bedhead, the occasional ponytail, and is environmentally friendly. He is also a fast learner: his big sister (by three days) Alexandra, used to bully him, especially when Mom or Dad Hornby arrived on the nest with fresh herring and midshipmen; at first, he’d duck but soon learned to outwit her by climbing atop the nest bowl to get first in line.

David was born at 3:51 pm (Pacific Time) on May 1. His name was carefully chosen by the hosts of the Hornby Island eagle cam, Doug and Sheila Carrick. As Doug explains:

“The second egg to hatch is assumed to be a male — a younger brother for Alexandra. This chick is named “David” in honour of David Suzuki, the great Canadian biologist and educator who has produced “The Nature of Things”, a program running on CBC TV for 50 years.

In a time when the ultimate goal for many is the accumulation of wealth and the success of a nation is judged by its Gross Domestic Product, Alexandra Morton and David Suzuki have dedicated their lives to the benefit of all people.

They have directed their energy in a course allowing for the continued evolution of life for thousands of years and to who knows what heights — rather than a course that will degrade life back to some primitive levels. We must seriously understand what our behaviour does to the environment we live in.

It is hoped that the naming of our chicks “Alexandra” and “David” will encourage us to think about what is really important in life.”

The link to the nest is in the blog post above. For more information about the Hornby family and other wildlife on island, come visit the site’s forum, Our Nature Zone, at http://www.ournaturezone.com/index.php

May 19, 2011
9:46 AM

We think the names of our eaglets are perfect and will help to educate people and draw attention for environmental and habitat concerns. I t has been pointed out that David Hornby resembles David Suzuki — fuzzy grey head and beard — bright alert eyes. I hope David Suzuki enjoys the eaglet and the honour to him in his anniversary year.

May 19, 2011
9:31 AM

The first chick hatched is generally a female and was called Alexandra in honour of Alexandra Morton, who has done so much to save our wild salmon. The second chick generally a male was called David in honour of David Suzuki. It is hoped that people watching these chicks will be constantly reminded of the importance of the environment — for the eagles and for all life including humans. These eaglets can be watched at hornbyeagles.com

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