Eagle biologist David Hancock inspects a tree which was once home to an eagle nest, last year in South Surrey. (File photo)

Eagle biologist David Hancock inspects a tree which was once home to an eagle nest, last year in South Surrey. (File photo)

$5,000 reward offered to find whoever paid to chop down Surrey eagle nest tree

But only if they ‘rat’ on the person who paid them to remove the Croydon Drive tree

The Hancock Wildlife Foundation is offering a $5,000 reward to the person who cut down a prominent eagle’s nest tree off Croydon Drive – but only if that person can provide proof of who paid them to do the job.

Foundation founder David Hancock said that it’s obvious the tree cutter didn’t act alone, and he would like to know who funded the operation.

“At some time, maybe the kid who (cut down the tree), will say, ‘OK, five grand, I’m going to rat on the guy that paid me.’ That’s what we’re hoping,” Hancock said Tuesday.

July last year, the City of Surrey received a call that a tree, located on private property at 2112 160 St., had been partially cut and was at risk of falling.

A city arbourist visited the site that afternoon and determined that the tree was at a high risk of falling due to it being cut on both sides, and almost all the way through.

Hancock supervised the removal of the tree, and agreed that there was no alternative – the tree had to come down.

RELATED: Prominent eagle nesting tree cut down in Surrey

The tree was home to an eagle nest, which Hancock had observed for the previous eight years. The nest could be easily spotted from Highway 99, and was active every year.

Last year, the city told Peace Arch News that an investigation had been opened by both the city and province, and that the vandalism to the tree was an infraction of the city’s tree-protection bylaw and the provincial Wildlife Act.

Conservation Service officer Alicia Stark told PAN this week that the investigation is still open.

The minimum fine that could be imposed under the Wildlife Act is $575. However, the investigation is complicated due to a lack of witnesses.

Under the city’s tree-protection bylaw, fines of up to $2,000 can be issued.

RELATED: Residents rally after eagle nest illegally vandalized

“We haven’t had anyone come forward with information but are still wanting people to call our (Report All Poachers and Polluters) line if they have information,” Stark wrote to PAN. “We haven’t been able to lay any charges.”

Even though it’s been a little more than a year since the tree was damaged, Hancock said he’s still regularly asked by residents for an update on the investigation.

“It always comes up,” Hancock said. “Every time I give a talk in the region, it’s the first question – what happened? It really is.”

Although the tree came down July last year, Hancock suspects that the cut was probably made in May.

“It was slowly dying. He only cut about a little over half of it. The birds, who were on eggs or had very tiny young, they abandoned the nest and they went and built another nest.”

Despite losing their home, the pair of eagles – Hancock caught the male and equipped it with a GPS-tracking device – appear to be doing just fine.

“When they came back after their migration, they went straight to (the new nest) and raised three young there, this year… I have not caught the female yet. It’s my great wish to catch the female so we know where the pair goes. I tried and tried and I couldn’t catch her, she’s very suspicious.”

Hancock has caught and installed GPS devices on 17 birds. All of which, he said, are northern breeders.

The eagles returned from their northern adventures on Sept. 22.

Hancock said he’s scheduled to have a meeting Wednesday to try and analyze data received from the GPS devices, and come up with a theory of why all the eagles seemed to have returned on the exact same day.

“The big thing is probably the fact that it’s so competitive in the Lower Mainland, that if you don’t get back and look after your nest, somebody else is going to claim it.”

Hancock said, “in the bird world,” the first eagle to claim a nest as its territory is, statistically, most likely to win the battle.

Hancock said that cutting down eagles nests, despite the illegality, has been happening for years in the province.

“Over my lifetime, even in the 30 years that I’ve lived here, I’ve just watched dozens and dozens and dozens of eagles nests just get chopped down,” Hancock said, adding that only recently has there been more enforcement on the illegal activity.

“Only since the NDP took power that we’ve saved a single eagle nest,” he said. “The concern, or the difference is, has to do with the enforcement of the Wildlife Act. That happened only when the NDP got in, all of the other governments have neglected it.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Central Okanagan Public Schools administration office in Kelowna. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed in 5 more Central Okanagan schools

All people who tested positive for the virus are self isolating at home

“Flower” was installed outside Interior Health’s downtown Kelowna Community Health & Services Centre on Wednesday, Nov. 25.(Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
New public art installation unveiled in downtown Kelowna

The piece, called Flower, sits in front of Interior Health’s Community Health & Services Centre on Doyle Avenue

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 70 new cases overnight

The total number of cases in the region is now at 1,426

Cranbrook business and property owners are encouraged to flush their water lines ahead of reopening. All it takes is running the cold water tap for several minutes. (Cranbrook Townsman file)
UPDATE: Water advisory issued on Westside

Westshore Estates leak repair causes need to flush system

KLO Middle School. (Google Maps)
KLO Middle School community member tests positive for COVID-19

According to SD23, the individual is self-isolating at home

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

Penticton Law Courts
Bail hearing for Penticton man charged with sex assault, forcible confinement

Robert Sauve is facing more than 10 criminal charges

Revelstoke RCMP warn of scam after two people targeted in one day. (Black Press file photo)
Revelstoke RCMP warn of scammer pulling at heart strings

Two people in Revelstoke targeted in one day by person posing as a loved one

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
RCMP investigate suspected arson at Shuswap hunting camp

Suspicious fire took place by Scotch Creek forest service road on Oct. 24

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

St. James Anglican Church, Armstrong, B.C. (Google Maps).
Prayer at North Okanagan council meetings a violation of religious neutrality: study

New study found 23 municipalities held prayer sessions at inaugural meetings in 2018, in violation of a Supreme Court decision

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An assault charge has been filed after a 10-year-old boy was allegedly struck with a watermelon at a Shuswap campsite in August . (File photo)
Alberta woman facing assault charge after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Shuswap campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read