British Columbia·Video

Young eagle released back to the wild after dramatic rescue 3 months ago

A group of Salmon Arm, B.C., neighbours who rescued an injured a juvenile eagle three months ago when its wing became impaled on a tree branch was on hand to watch the rehabilitated bird take flight once more on Thursday.

Neighbours in Salmon Arm rescued the eagle this summer after its wing became impaled on a branch

A young eagle springs from the open door of a carrying crate Thursday on its way back to the wild. (Brady Strachan / CBC)

A juvenile eagle has been rehabilitated and released to freedom following a dramatic rescue three months ago when the bird was found by neighbours in Salmon Arm, B.C., trapped high up in a tree.

About a dozen people watched on Thursday morning as the female bald eagle sprang from the open door of a carrying crate and took flight again — eventually settling on a tree branch next to the tree its nest was in.

"It's just very exciting that all of this ended in a happy ending," said Susie Lorenz, who was one of the people involved in rescuing the eagle from the tree.

"Everybody was rooting for her, so today is a great day."

Watch the young eagle take flight

The eagle had spent the last three months in care after crashing and impaling its wing on a tree branch. 0:32

The young raptor was injured in late July when it crashed into a tree and impaled its wing on a branch near Lorenz's home.

"She was dangling. There was really no way that she would have been able to free herself," she said.

Lorenz and her neighbours called the B.C. Conservation Service and bird sanctuaries asking for help.

In the end, it was her neighbour's son — an experienced hydro worker — who climbed the tree to bring down the injured bird.

"He spent over an hour, slowly working his way up the tree trying to safely get up to her and do the rescue," Lorenz said.

Lorenz, second from the left, her two sons, Elis and Carter and neighbour Anita McManus stand near the tree where the eagle was trapped. (Leah Shaw/CBC)

The injured bird, estimated to be about six weeks old, was taken to the B.C. Wildlife Park in Kamloops B.C., and treated by staff and a veterinarian.

"She was in pretty rough shape. She had been hanging in that tree the whole day in the fairly hot weather." said animal care manager Tracy Reynolds.

"She was extremely exhausted and dehydrated and the hole in her wing was substantial."

An X-ray reveled no broken bones in the wing or torn tendons and the veterinarian stitched up her wound.

The eagle had a setback in its healing when a stubborn infection set in, requiring a change in antibiotics.

The hole in the eagle's wing was stitched by a veterinarian in Kamloops. (Photo by Tracy Reynolds)

Once the wing was healed, staff placed the bird in a flight pen where it could fly and strengthen the muscles in the injured wing, Reynolds said. 

After three months at the wildlife sanctuary, the eagle was ready to be reintroduced to the wild.

"We do have a lot of heartache in our job. Not everything we get in can be rehabilitated," she said.

"You do your best, and sometimes that still isn't enough, so it's so rewarding when you see something like this."

The eagle recovered at the B.C. Wildlife Park in Kamloops. (Submitted by Tracy Reynolds)


About the Author

Brady Strachan

CBC Reporter

Brady Strachan is a CBC reporter based in Kelowna, B.C. Besides Kelowna, Strachan has covered stories for CBC News in Winnipeg, Brandon, Vancouver and internationally. Follow his tweets @BradyStrachan


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