The Save French Creek Estuary has captured photo of an eagles’ nest with the mother and eaglet named ‘Frankie’ on a tree located near the French Creek Marina. — SFCES photo

Group aims to preserve French Creek tree

Save Estuary Land Society says bald eagles used tree for nest

A conservation group wants to save a Douglas fir tree that was home to a pair of adult bald eagles near the French Creek Marina.

The tree bears a sign that designates it as a ‘Wildlife Tree’ by the Ministry of Forests and Lands and is saved for nesting. It also advises the public not to disturb it.

Denise Foster, of the Save Estuary Land Society, said they are concerned about a report they say was given by an expert hired by (land owner) French Creek House Ltd that indicated the nest is “inactive.”

There is also an arborist report that indicated the tree is a hazard and requires removal.

It led the province to issue a permit to cut down the tree, which is located at 1025 Lee Rd.

The permit, however, was temporarily suspended on Aug. 8 when ministry staff, through the assistance of the society, found out that the eagles were breeding on the tree.

The society has been documenting a pair bald eagles in the nest since December 2018. The group says it had a first glimpse of a downy little eaglet it named ‘Frankie’ on May 9, which eventually grew into a full-sized eagle and fledged on July 12.

Foster said the tree should be preserved as eagles may use the nest again in the future. They want another assessment done.

“The province has only suspended the cut tree permit as they are waiting until such time the nest tree isn’t active and at that point permit the tree to be cut down,” said Foster. “The safety of the eagles’ nest is important. We would like to see an independent report by an arborist or professional forester to confirm or deny what the first report said just to be sure. This information has been provided to the province and it’s always good to have accuracy in these cases before you bring down a bald eagle tree.”

The tree is located on a 3.2-hectare property that the developer wants rezoned for future housing and 350,000 square feet of commercial space.

The NEWS contacted French Creek House Ltd via email and phone but no response was received by press time.

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