More eagles being electrocuted by power lines

Most zapped raptors have to be put down and latest shocked eagle is in care for the second time

'Flash' the bald eagle is back at the O.W.L. raptor rehab centre after being electrocuted by a power line for a second time.

A Delta-based raptor rehabilitation centre has seen a shocking surge in bald eagles and other birds of prey being zapped by power lines or transformers this year.

The O.W.L. Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society has treated 47 cases so far this year of raptors that have been electrocuted, about 10 more than in 2015.

“Every year the number of eagles being electrocuted is going up in the local area,” said bird care supervisor Rob Hope. “There aren’t a lot of trees for them to perch on so they’ve turned to power poles for perching. When they’re on the power lines there’s a risk of them touching both lines, and then it’s usually game over.”

Nearly all zapped raptors that have arrived this year have had to be put down because the powerful birds failed to regain enough wing power to fly.

But two are still in care and the latest arrival is a repeat case that was first rescued dangling from a power pole in January, 2015. (See video below)

Dubbed “Flash” by his BC Hydro rescuers, the eagle was rehabilitated and released back into the wild last April.

This time the prognosis isn’t as good.

“We could smell the burning feathers and flesh,” Hope said of the bird’s second trip into the rehab centre.

“With electricity, of course, it basically cooks the muscles and tendons and everything. We’ve been trying to basically keep blood flowing to the animal and treating him with topical antibiotics to prevent infection.”

Despite volunteers’ best efforts, the eagle’s outlook is grim.

“Chances are he will not be released back to the wild.”

Hope said he would like BC Hydro to erect raptor perches on the tops of more power poles in problem areas.

The perches give birds of prey a place to land that’s a few feet higher than the power lines, reducing the risk.

Spokesperson Mora Scott said BC Hydro has installed many such perches in the Delta area and continues to work closely with O.W.L. to identify risky locations and add more.

She said electrocuted eagles have been a problem at other areas of the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island as well.

Other steps Hydro sometimes takes in high-risk locations include installing “diverters” that are essentially reflectors to help raptors spot and avoid power lines.

Example of an elevated perch BC Hydro sometimes installs to make power poles  safer for raptors.

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Missing Maple Ridge man’s car found in Harrison

Michael Denham has been missing since June 27

PHOTOS: Otter Co-op opens in east Abbotsford

New grocery store hosts grand opening on Monday morning

UFV grads of 2020 honoured in innovative ways

No convocation ceremony due to pandemic, but grads receive ‘celebration box’

Abbotsford Flea Market reopening on Sunday

Market has been closed since March 8 due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Abbotsford City Hall re-opens for scheduled appointments

In-person meetings with staff can now be booked for the first time since March

Police issue warning after baby comes across suspected drugs in Kamloops park

The 11-month-old girl’s mother posted photos on social media showing a small plastic bag containing a purple substance

Collision results in train derailment just east of Golden

The derailment occurred Sunday night, according to a statement from CP

Lower Mainland woman says llama farming neighbour shot her 11-month-old pup

Young dog was on owner’s Maple Ridge property when it was killed on June 21

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

B.C. highway widening job reduced, costs still up $61 million

Union-only project scales back work to widen Trans-Canada

Greater Victoria nanny pleads guilty to child porn, sexual interference charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to slew of sex crimes

Most Read