British Columbia

Feathered fire evacuees recovering after power pole rescue

Two young kestrels were rescued by BC Hydro workers who were removing transmission poles and equipment damaged in the massive Elephant Hill wildfire near Cache Creek.

Two American kestrel chicks were rescued by BC Hydro workers near Ashcroft

BC Hydro workers found the American kestrel chicks in their nest on a burned transmission pole in the Ashcroft area. (BC Hydro)

Two falcon chicks that were rescued from a wildfire-damaged power pole are recovering at a Kamloops wildlife shelter. 

The young American kestrels were found as BC Hydro workers cleared burned and fallen poles near Ashcroft, B.C.

They were brought to the Wildlife Health Centre in Kamloops, where Adrienne Clay is an animal care supervisor.

"They're pretty lucky birds," Clay told Radio West host Alya Ramadan.

"They were in rough shape when they got here because they had had a rough go in the fire."

When they arrived, Clay said, the smaller of the two chicks wasn't standing up.

'Mom had probably left'

"They probably didn't have food for at least a day or two because Mom had probably left because of the fire."

Clay said she was told the kestrels were nested inside a cavity in the power pole. 

One of two kestrel chicks rescued by BC Hydro workers in Ashcroft was unable to stand when it arrived at the Wildlife Health Centre in Kamloops. (BC Hydro)

American kestrels are the smallest falcons found in North America. They range from Northern B.C. to South America.

The massive Elephant Hill fire near Cache Creek remains only 30 per cent contained, but with the evacuation order lifted for the area, residents are returning to their normal lives. 

The young kestrels were back on their feet within a couple of days of rescue and are expected to return to the area soon as well.

 "It might be another four or five weeks before we can get them flying and hunting properly and we can be really sure that they can do well out on their own in the wild," Clay said.

She said a government biologist might be consulted to assess whether they can be successfully released to the areas where they were found. 

"We might just find the nearest place to where they came from that still has a good solid forest and lots of forage underneath for all the little critters that end up being their food," Clay said.

Listen to the full interview: