[Tweeters] Eagle Feeding

D. Gluckman cgluckman at aol.com
Tue Jul 16 17:17:35 PDT 2013

I'm the Admiralty Audubon representative on the Department of Natural Resource's Protection Island Aquatic Reserve Management Committee and I ran into an issue today that some members of the committee feels needs further information and discussion. A member of the committee mentioned that in his estimation there were too many eagles on Protection Island NWR and the fundamental purpose of protecting sea birds is being lost. Breeding cormorants were no more and eagles were reducing breeding populations of Glaucus-Winged Gulls, Tufted Puffins, Rhinoceros Auklets and Pigeon Guillemots. (To the extent of wandering around at night on the ground picking off chicks as they wander outside their burrows). Putting aside the question of whether this is just a natural response to increasing natural populations now that we no longer have many persistent pesticides and eagle hunting, is this a concern and is there something that should be done about it? I personally feel we have a long way to go before we start taking drastic measures like shooting eagles (if ever). However, I am interested in whether or not the feeding of eagles by humans have, or may cause, an increase in populations beyond previous natural levels and should we begin thinking about some controls on these feedings (or just quiet conversations with those who are doing it) to avoid possible future problems. Having witnessed numerous eagles descending on dumped barrels of butcher scraps on a private ranch, it never occurred to me that this might cause some problems in the future. Any thoughts, or information about research being done in this area?

David Gluckman
Pt. Townsend, WA

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