When it came to releasing a pair of recovering bald eagles back to nature Wednesday, ladies first was clearly not the way to go.
“So he has a chance to run,” explained Mindy Dick of the male.
Dick, a bird care and education instructor at OWL (Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society) in Delta, was among three people to rescue the pair last week from bushes just off of a walking trail in Crescent Park.
They were found around 4 p.m. Nov. 26 – interlocked by the talons – by a woman who was out walking her dog. The male had one of the female’s talons through his neck; the female, weighing nearly a kilogram heavier, had a talon puncturing her left thigh. Both also had puncture wounds in their feet and bruising.
Believed to have been fighting for some time, the eagles were exhausted when found but didn’t relax their hold on each other until netted.
Bev Day, founding director of OWL, said it’s unclear why the pair were scrapping, and likened the tussle to children fighting over a popsicle –“it’s the only analogy I can think of. Some of the characteristics are like spoiled kids.”
Dick, who carried the raptors out of the park with the help of OWL volunteer Todd Bowling and fellow staffer Sue Davies, said the two didn’t struggle through the process.
“They didn’t have much fight in them at all.”
Taken to the Delta facility, the otherwise healthy eagles were put on antibiotics for three days to stave off possible infection.
They were released at the park Wednesday morning, with the male given a 15-minute lead.
Dick said the pair would “pick up where they left off,” in their daily lives. She couldn’t predict if they would reconnect and start brawling again.
She described following the eagles through a rescue and release as extremely satisfying.
“There’s no feeling like it in the world,” Dick said.
Dick and Day encourage anyone wanting a chance to learn more about OWL to visit the 3800 72 St. facility between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday for a Christmas at OWL event. Activities include photos being taken with an owl, by donation. Proceeds are to benefit the society’s efforts to rehabilitate and release injured and orphaned birds.
For info, call 604-946-3171.