Oak Bay eagles fend off crows

Photographer captures wildlife interction in urban Oak Bay

Avid photographer Bob Harwood feels his latest wildlife stills aren’t spectacular, but their subject is.

Harwood documented a battle between Oak Bay’s famous fire hall eagles and a murder of crows.

A few days ago Bob and his wife Pam returned from a walk to Cattle Point, passing through the adjacent parking lot and spotted an eagle flying to its nest.

“Once it perched, two crows started to harass the eagle, no doubt because of their concerns for their own young. It was mid-afternoon and the sun was glaring, so not the best time to take photographs,” he said. “I wanted to catch some of the interaction between the crows and the eagle.”

Harwood and his wife moved to Oak Bay in December 2015. He’s been photographing the area and other parts of the Island. A few weeks ago the couple met another resident on the street who recalled winning a contest to name the young eagles born in the nest that year.

“It’s one of those small Oak Bay stories ‘the eagles behind the fire hall’,” he said. “It’s part of our story here.”

It put the nest above Monterey Avenue fire hall on his radar. Still, he was surprised to capture the wild interaction.

“I was just very happy to capture that moment. The crows were harassing the eagle for a while in the nest. I waited and fortunately as the eagle spread its wings to fly off I just started taking photos,” he said. “The photos are not very good, especially the one that shows the nest. But content can sometimes override artistry. In that photo one can see the dead gull draped over the edge of the nest, one of the eagle chicks poking its head up, the distressed parent being chased away by the crows – who, no doubt, would object to either themselves or their kin becoming food for the baby eagles – and all this drama behind the Oak Bay firehall, which sees plenty of human drama.”

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cvanreeuwyk@oakbaynews.com