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

Just Posted

Cohort Cup hockey tournament coming to Abbotsford

Abbotsford Centre hosting minor hockey event for U18, U16 and U15 talents

Abbotsford Soccer Association partners with Canadian Tire

ASA and locally owned and operated retail store teaming up for youth

Abbotsford family participates in fundraiser for melanoma patients

Move for Melanoma supports lost wages, uncovered treatment costs and more

Abbotsford veteran survives cancer scare, celebrates 95th birthday

Second World War veteran Andy Anderson receives socially distanced birthday party after health scare

Bank robber who was on the lam receives three years in jail

Lucas Bradwell was wanted for robberies in Abbotsford, Sidney and Vancouver

B.C.’s top doctor thanks supporters after revealing threats over COVID-19 measures

Dr. Bonnie Henry says COVID-19 has caused some people to lash out in anger and frustration out of fear

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

NDP, Greens divided on pace of child care improvements in B.C. election campaign

NDP Leader John Horgan recommitted to $10-a-day child care and blamed the Greens for not supporting his efforts

Wind warning for White Rock, South Surrey

Gusts up to 90 km/h expected from Richmond to Langley Friday (Sept. 25) morning

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

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

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Most Read