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.

'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

Volunteers from Semiahmoo Secondary joined with members of the Lower Mainland Green Team and the White Rock and South Surrey Naturalists Wednesday to remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park. (Contributed photo)
Students, volunteers remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park

Day-long project a collaboration between city, Lower Mainland Green Team

Labour Minister Harry Bains addressing Surrey Board of Trade digital meeting Friday. (Screen shot)
Labour Minister says Surrey businesses’ resilience through pandemic ‘impressive’

‘Surrey’s effort in bending the curve has been among the best,’ Harry Bains says

Raj Singh Toor (left) with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudea after an official apology for the treatment of Komagata Maru passengers in 1914. (Contributed photo)
Request made for City of White Rock to honour Komagata Maru passengers

Raj Singh Toor confident city will rename ‘street, park or city asset’ in honour of 1914 tragedy

A memorial to Hudson Brooks grew quickly outside the South Surrey RCMP detachment following his July 2015 death at the hands of police. (File photo)
Inquest yields ‘sliver of justice’ for South Surrey’s Hudson Brooks: brother

Beau Brooks says he’s not optimistic call for increased RCMP training will bear fruit

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Most Read