[Tweeters] Eagle Feeding

Dennis Paulson dennispaulson at comcast.net
Wed Jul 17 18:57:05 PDT 2013


I'm sure I don't have all the relevant information at hand, but it seems that everywhere I turn I hear about Bald Eagles decimating seabird populations, from colonial species such as those you named (and well-known problems for Common Murres, Caspian Terns and Great Blue Herons) to solitary species such as Common Loons. Bald Eagles are causing trouble for birds that may eventually be rarer than they are. I didn't even know about the problems on Protection Island, and I was already very concerned.

Shooting seems drastic, but how else to mitigate the effects of this super-predator? I honestly don't think human feeding of eagles has anything to do with their surprising and swift increase as breeding birds in the Pacific Northwest. Their numbers really were reduced by both shooting and pesticides, and they are back on the upswing just like Ospreys, Peregrines, pelicans and others (none of which are subsidized by humans). Unfortunately, there's no way of knowing if the population is greater than at some time in the past before they were shot and pesticided to a fare-thee-well.

Some have opined that reduction in salmon populations (entirely human caused) might contribute to the Bald Eagles of today being hungrier, with a more varied diet, than those of yesteryear. There is probably no evidence for or against this, but I consider it a much more reasonable hypothesis than human feeding contributing to the virtual population explosion.

I think the Bald Eagle has to be the subject of management discussions, as I think we are really in danger of losing breeding bird colonies all up and down the region. Very precise control may be the only reasonable response.

Dennis Paulson

On Jul 17, 2013, at 12:01 PM, tweeters-request at mailman1.u.washington.edu wrote:

> Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2013 20:17:35 -0400 (EDT)

> From: "D. Gluckman" <cgluckman at aol.com>

> Subject: [Tweeters] Eagle Feeding

> To: tweeters at u.washington.edu

> Message-ID: <8D0509A2B985A95-720-F9955 at webmail-m203.sysops.aol.com>

> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"


> 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

> 360.531.3325

Dennis Paulson
1724 NE 98 St.
Seattle, WA 98115
dennispaulson at comcast.net

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