Gary Turner releases an immature bald eagle at the Salmon Arm wharf which had just spent two months in a rehabilitation facility after it was rescued in July. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer) Gary Turner releases an immature bald eagle at the Salmon Arm wharf which had just spent two months in a rehabilitation facility after it was rescued in July. (Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer)

Juvenile eagle finds its wings at Salmon Arm wharf

Eagle spent almost two months at rehabilitation centre after leaving nest too early

A young bald eagle found its wings in Salmon Arm thanks, in part, to concerned citizens.

On the evening July 8, Liana Yates, a security guard with Salmon Arm Security, was patrolling near the Prestige Harbourfront Resort when she was alerted to a possibly injured eagle nearby. Yates found juvenile female raptor near the Marine Park boat launch.

After making a few calls, Yates was connected with Gary Turner, a volunteer with the OWL bird rehabilitation centre who rescues injured birds in the Shuswap and Vernon areas. Yates tried to bundle the bird up with a sheet she had in the back of her patrol car but it hopped into the lake and attempted to swim away.

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Turner arrived and was able to get the eagle in a dog cage so it could be transported to the wildlife rescue facility in the Lower Mainland.

Turner said he assumed the eagle was injured when he picked it up due to the fact it did not fly away from its rescuers. After examination at the rehab facility it seemed the eagle had simply left the nest too early and could not fly well yet. Turner said the volunteers at OWL kept the bird well fed and allowed it to practice in their enclosed flyway.

On Aug. 29, the eagle was released near where it had been found at the Salmon Arm Wharf. The young bird, still in its dark juvenile plumage, hopped out of the cage when Turner opened it and then took to the air and soared off to roost in a nearby tree.

Yates said the eagle appeared much larger and healthier than it had when she helped rescue it two months ago.

Turner and other OWL volunteers had a busy afternoon ahead of them after releasing the eagle. First they turned loose a barred owl near Old Spallumcheen Road in Sicamous and then they headed south to Enderby to turn loose a great horned owl which had also spent time at the rehabilitation centre.



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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