Eagle researcher to speak at Blaine Library October 8

Published on Thu, Oct 2, 2008 by Jack Kintner

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Eagle researcher to speak at Blaine Library October 8

By Jack Kintner

Well known eagle researcher and naturalist David Hancock of Surrey, B.C., and Blaine will be speaking about his favorite birds Wednesday evening, October 8, at 8 p.m. at the Blaine Library.

Hancock has been following and recording eagles and their behavior around the northwest for 50 years and knows as much as anyone about them, especially in this area. He said recently that Blaine and Birch Bay are home to at least nine nesting pairs of the magnificent birds
“At the peak, we probably have around 20,000 birds in the B.C. lower mainland and this area,” he said. “They do come and go. In the Harrison, for example, in November to the end of the year you can see as many as 1,500 birds in a fairly short stretch of river. Nice to see.”

In 1954 Hancock found just three birds in Vancouver, but says that now there are around 200 nesting pairs in the city.

Hancock grew up in Victoria and began working with raptors at the age of 12 when he was given a young Golden Eagle, a 12-pound bird with a wingspan of 7 1/2 feet, still the biggest eagle he’s ever captured in the last 58 years.

He is a falconer, having apprenticed with the renown Lloyd Beebe. He started flying aircraft on his 16th birthday, the youngest legal age for becoming a pilot, and used small planes as a way of conducting population studies. He went on to the University of British Columbia to study wildlife conservation.

He has continued his research ever since, covering many thousands of miles of shoreline from Washington north through B.C. into S.E. Alaska.

His interests range from birds to the white “Spirit” bears of the coastal islands to native life. He has his own publishing company, Hancock House, and for those interested a rack of his books is available at Blaine Bouquets.

For more information, contact the Blaine Library at 332-8246.