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'Not giving up': Residents plan peaceful protest as plans to 'cone' eagle nest underway

A petition to prevent the coning has gathered over 18,000 signatures.
Plans to cone an eagle nest at UBC will take place on Sept. 14, 2022, despite strong opposition. (File photo)

A plan to cover a nest housing two bald eagles and their eaglets is underway despite strong opposition from one Vancouver community.

A pair of bald eagles are soon to be displaced after plans to "cone" an active eagles' nest located on the UBC campus across the street from a building development site have been confirmed to take place Wednesday (Sept. 14). 

"Coning" refers to putting a metal cone over a nest to prevent access to it.

Plans underway to 'redirect nesting activity'

The eagle nest is situated across the street from a construction site at the intersection of Ross Drive and Birney Avenue, where UBC Properties Trust (UBCPT) and Polygon Homes plan to continue building more housing. This is despite the eagles having their first successful mating season in 2022, since first occupying the nest in 2017. 

Biologists at Diamond Head Consulting were hired by UBCPT to "prescribe construction practices that would minimize impacts to this nest" and monitor "construction activities, noise levels and other potential disturbance factors during the construction of nearby Georgia Point and Oakwood," says a news release by UBCPT. 

According to the same news release, on June 30 Diamond Head Consulting submitted a permit application to the Province to cone the nest. The permit was approved on September 2 and required that the cone be installed by September 15. The coning is set to take place on September 14. 

"During this time the eagles could build a new nest or adopt the alternate nest that has been constructed for them," writes UBCPT. "This plan would involve placement of a temporary fibreglass cone over the original nest to protect the nest and redirect nesting activity during construction. This cone would be removed after construction is complete."

Concerned residents start petition to stop coning

A petition was started in August by concerned residents to stop the coning of the nest. It gathered over 12,500 signatures in the first four days and, as of September 13, has over 18,000 signatures. 

"We are so disappointed that UBC have refused to engage with the nearly 18,000 people who objected to these plans," writes a campaign spokesperson in an email to VIA. "They have completely ignored us and their community."

Peaceful protest planned

Following the news of UBCPT's plans to cone the nest, concerned residents are planning a peaceful protest. However, the time of the coning is unknown. 

"If anyone does choose to protest, we thank you for your commitment and ask that we make sure to respect property and people while doing so," writes a petition update. "We are not giving up and if the coning goes ahead we will keep trying to get it removed before the breeding season restarts in January, including using legal channels if necessary."

"We are still going to try and protect these eagles as best we can," adds the spokesperson.