Eagles in their nest in a French Creek Douglas fir, which was almost cut down in 2019. (Save French Creek Estuary Land photo)

Eagles in their nest in a French Creek Douglas fir, which was almost cut down in 2019. (Save French Creek Estuary Land photo)

WATCH: Eagles return to French Creek tree saved from chopping block

Frankie the eaglet’s parents come back, have two babies

There are two new baby eagles in French Creek, born into a home that was almost demolished last year.

The Douglas fir tree nest where the eaglets and their parents now reside was dubbed inactive last year and the land was set to be developed. The province issued a permit allowing the property owner to cut down the tree, but that was later suspended once it was shown that eagles were brooding in the tree.

Save French Creek Estuary Land, a local conservation group, worked to get the permit suspended.

READ MORE: Group aims to preserve French Creek tree

Part of their effort was documenting a pair of bald eagles who used the nest – their eaglet, Frankie, was first spotted on May 9, 2019, before fledging on July 12.

Frankie’s parents have now returned and the group captured them feeding their new babies.

Denise Foster, chair of the group, caught the eagles in their nest.

“It was pure joy, really, to just know that the nest almost came down and then to see the eagles have that opportunity to raise another family there and to see the two chicks,” she said. “We had seen a peek of one prior, and then that day we saw the two.”

For Foster, it shows the importance of the estuary and the need for it to be protected.

“The estuary is wildly important for wildlife, all kinds of species depend on them, they’re considered one of the most valuable – nature’s nurseries is how they’re referred to of all the ecological habitats that we have,” she said. “So this particular estuary without any protection, in comparison to the Englishman River, Qualicum, Nanaimo – so it deserves that type of protection.”

Although Foster is glad the group was able to save the tree, she points out that it’s not protected indefinitely – it’s something they’re still working on protecting further.

“We’re still working through a Freedom of Information document that we put in a request for from the province,” she said. “We have that now and we’ll be submitting that to a renowned and published tree expert, who will be reviewing it for us to see in terms of the validity, the necessity of having the tree come down.”

Foster has been going through the FOI – she said part of the document shows correspondence where their request was referred to as a “conspiracy theory” by members of the public.

“Without public involvement, this bald eagle nest would have been cut down,” she said. “It’s not really a conspiracy theory, it’s just people showing care and concern for wildlife.”

cloe.logan@pqbnews.com

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