Sandhill crane hit by golf ball released back into the wild in Pitt Meadows

Fraser the Sandhill Crane getting some care for his broken leg. (Special to The News)Fraser the Sandhill Crane getting some care for his broken leg. (Special to The News)
An X-ray of “Fraser’ the crane’s fractured leg. (Special to the News)An X-ray of “Fraser’ the crane’s fractured leg. (Special to the News)
A picture of Fraser (left) and his mate who was unfortunately killed by an errant golf ball strike. (Special to The News)A picture of Fraser (left) and his mate who was unfortunately killed by an errant golf ball strike. (Special to The News)
Fraser was released back into the wild in Pitt Meadows’ Pitt Polder ecological reserve on Saturday (Special to The News)Fraser was released back into the wild in Pitt Meadows’ Pitt Polder ecological reserve on Saturday (Special to The News)

A sandhill crane that had been nursed back to health after suffering a broken leg was released back to the wild in Pitt Meadows on Saturday.

The bird, which has been named ‘Fraser,’ by its rescuers had been struck by an errant golf ball this summer, and was captured to give it a fighting chance at survival.

Its mate had also been hit, but was not as lucky.

Wildlife biologist Myles Lamont said a passionate team of veterinarians have spent the last several months donating their time, materials, and expertise to care for Fraser.

Dr. Adrian Walton from Dewdney Animal performed the original surgery after capture, Dr. Ken Macquisten aided in post operative care and subsequent treatment, and Elizabeth Melnick from Elizabeth’s Wildlife Center, has helped with rehab of these golf ball injured birds for the last several years.

“They have likely invested several thousands of dollars worth of surgery time and medical support with zero compensation, so they deserve to have some recognition for their community support,” said Lamont.

READ MORE: Climate change threatens extinction for most birds, especially in Canada: report

Fraser will be fitted with a GPS transmitter so his movements and recovery can be tracked.

Lamont, who provided the majority of the funding for the transmitter, said it will help contribute to our limited understanding of this unique sub-population of sandhill cranes.

“With less than approximately 12 breeding pairs left of the South Coastal sandhill cranes in the Fraser Valley, this population is facing severe threats from urban expansion, loss of wetland habitats to agricultural development, and increased threat of golf courses as they continue to be forced onto these sub-optimal habitat types and subject to injury,” Lamont said.

The crane was let loose in the Pitt Polder Ecological Reserve, one of the last viable habitats for the birds.

Lamont said it was in Fraser’s best interest to be released now.

“I’m hoping he’s got a couple weeks here of some fairly mild weather, so he can acclimatize and join a bit of a small flock that usually hangs out in the Pitt [Polder] this time of year.”

Of note, is the cultural significance of the species to local First Nations people.

“It’s the only First Nations culture that I know of that has such a close tie to cranes,” Lamont said.

“According to Katzie oral history, the sandhill crane was one of the most important animals in their culture and was highly revered, with their name for the crane being “haha´w ” which means “superior in everything.

“In March, thousands of sandhill cranes would stop over in their traditional territories along the Pitt River and stage prior to moving north, and they termed March the “month of the crane” or ” li-´mƏs ” in their traditional language.”

He estimated there are between 30 to 35 birds in the lower mainland, and would like their status changed from ‘Non-threatened,’ to ‘Threatened.’

“It is terribly low, and unfortunately has not received any concern or attention from either provincial or federal governments in the last decade,” Lamont said.

“I’m trying to lobby them to re-look at this species because 30 birds is not very many and their recruitment is terribly abysmal.”

He pointed out less than 3 per cent of the birds that hatch actually make it to adulthood.

“It is not high enough to maintain the population, and we’ve lost ten birds in the last five years to golf ball strikes. The whole thing is a recipe for disaster because it can take five years for them to reach maturity,” he said.

“So the population will not be able to sustain itself with those kind of fatalities continuing.”



ronan.p.odoherty@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

ConservationNaturePitt Meadows

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

Just Posted

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Tyler Tardi will serve as a fifth on Team Laycock at the 2021 Tim Hortons Brier. (Black Press Media file photo)
Tyler Tardi to serve as alternate for B.C. team at Brier

Langley/Cloverdale curler to serve as ‘fifth’ on Team Laycock at Calgary-hosted championships

Sources White Rock/South Surrey Food Bank is located at 2356 156 St. (File photo)
Door-to-door canvassers not working on behalf of Sources Food Bank, says manager

Accredited White Rock, South Surrey, Langley food bank does not canvas for donations

Surrey RCMP say that after checking on a “semi-conscious” driver in Whalley on Jan. 20, 2021, officers found about 21 grams of suspected cocaine, 68 grams of suspected fentanyl, about $1,400 in case, a stolen shotgun and ammunition. (Photo: Surrey RCMP handout)
Surrey RCMP say ‘semi-conscious’ driver found with drugs, gun

Officer saw ‘open alcohol and suspected drugs’ inside the vehicle, police say

Post-COVID-19 recovery clinic in Surrey, at Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre. (Photo: Fraser Health)
Surrey gets one of three post-COVID-19 recovery clinics

The Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre is located at 9750 140th Street

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

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

Competitors make their way through the course at the 2019 Canadian Cross Country Championships, which was hosted by Abbotsford in 2019. (File photo)
Abbotsford to host 2023 Canadian Cross Country Championships

Clearbrook Park last hosted the event in 2019, Ottawa hosting 2021 and 2022 races

Officers investigate the scene after a pedestrian was struck and killed on Friday morning. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Male pedestrian, 37, killed in Abbotsford after being struck by vehicle

Collision took place in 31800 block of South Fraser Way on Friday morning

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Most Read