Sue Davies

Rehabilitating raptors ‘such an honour’

South Surrey’s Sue Davies takes pride in helping injured owls return to the wild

By Alex Wilks, Special to Peace Arch News

Witnessing a rehabilitated bird being released back into the wild is the most rewarding part of Sue Davies’ job.

The South Surrey resident is the assistant raptor rehabilitator and educator at OWL, also known as the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society.

OWL, located in Delta, is a non-profit charitable organization with a primary focus to provide care and rehabilitation to injured birds of prey – various species of eagles, owls, hawks and falcons.

The centre provides primary care, such as an initial X-ray, the stabilization of bone breaks, IV treatments and the administration of medication. Surgeries are then performed at veterinary clinics across the Lower Mainland.

Birds that suffer severe injuries and those that become too adjusted to human contact remain a permanent resident and become a community-education bird. Some of these birds even assist in fostering orphans.

“I love being here because I’ve always wanted to help nature and help the environment” Davies, 34, said.

“Our work directly helps these birds, these raptors. Rehabilitating them is just such an honour.”

Operating at a picturesque rental property just west of a runway at Boundary Bay Airport in South Delta, staff at OWL assess the progress of each bird daily. Davies is in charge of cleaning enclosures, feeding and providing medication and examination to the birds in the intensive care unit.

“These birds when they’re injured are pretty much at the mercy of nature so if we were not here these birds would most likely die,” she said.

“We’re just focused on the survival of these birds and giving them a second chance.”

Before she was a staff member Davies spent time volunteering at OWL to gain credit for a post-secondary class she took at BCIT.

After her first volunteer shift, her supervisor gave her the opportunity to exercise one of the resident barn owls.

“I had food on the glove, and she came flying down to take the food from my glove and fly back,” Davies said. “After my first day, I was set. I thought to myself that if I can get a job here, I would be ecstatic.”

Davies has witnessed firsthand how rehabilitation can save lives.

“I was fortunate enough to rescue a little saw-whet owl from a park nearby a few years ago,” she said.

“I was able to help with the rehabilitation and I got to go back to that same park and release him.

“It was just nice to be a part of that process and a part of his release.”

Volunteers at OWL work locally and provincially to rescue and transport birds back to the facility. The rehabilitation centre is expecting to care for more than 600 birds in 2016.

With a success rate of 75 per cent, most of the birds are rehabilitated and released back into the wild.

“There are birds here that just have some intense and extreme injuries and to see them overcome those and to get to eventually release them back into the wild is pretty remarkable,” she said. “We like the public to know that every person that helps makes a difference.”

For more information, visit www.owlcanada.org or call 604-946-3171. By-donation tours are offered on weekends throughout the year, and daily in July and August.

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

Just Posted

Patricia Celan, named Miss Charity seven years ago while a teen living in South Surrey, is now in postgraduate psychiatry training and was recently named Mrs. Canada International 2021. (Contributed photos)
Domestic-violence awareness a focus for former White Rock woman named Mrs. Canada International

Patricia Celan, in postgraduate psychiatry training, earned her first crown in 2013

The peninsula’s Community Christmas Day Dinner at White Rock Baptist Church – seen here in 2019 – has been cancelled for 2020, because of pandemic-inspired limitations on gatherings. (File photo)
Annual Community Christmas dinner ‘just not possible’ this year

Organizers vow that 40 years-plus Semiahmoo Peninsula tradition will return, post-COVID

Sources volunteers face off at the organization’s ‘Enchanted’ gala – one as a fairy and the other as her magic-mirror reflection – held in 2019. (Tiffany Kwong photo)
‘Rising infections’ prompts move to virtual Sources gala

Silent auction, raffle opens to public at 9 a.m. Oct. 30

This year’s annual Lighted Boat Parade has been cancelled. (File photo)
White Rock’s annual Lighted Boat Parade cancelled

COVID-19 cited as main reason for cancellation of popular winter tradition

Strawberry Hill Hall is being renovated and moved to another location on its existing corner lot in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey’s historic Strawberry Hill Hall being moved a few metres in $1.2M reno project

Childcare spaces coming to corner lot where hall has stood for 111 years

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks Thursday (Oct. 29) during a news conference held at Fraser Health office, in video posted to Facebook. (Photo: Government of British Columbai/Facebook)
COVID-19 ‘disproportionately’ affecting Fraser Health: Henry

Health region has about 75 per cent of B.C.’s active cases

A study by SlotsOnlineCanada notes there is at least 88 hours of top-rated horror movies for Canadians to consume this Halloween. (Unsplash)
Spooks and Chill study reveals Canada’s favourite horror flicks

88 hours of top-rated horror movies can fill COVID-19 Halloween

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

Most Read