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

Fraser Health has announced another COVID exposure at Brookswood Secondary. (Google Maps)
Brookswood Secondary latest Langley school with COVID exposure

The alert follows alerts at five schools over the weekend

Langley 4-H junior member, Juliet, was a Field to Fork winner. (4-H BC/Special to the Aldergrove Star)
VIDEO: Field to Fork challenge brings together youth and BC grown foods

Two Langley residents earned recognition for their cooking creations using homegrown ingredients

Langley Regional Airport terminal building. (Langley Advance Times files)
Police refuse to comment on fate of arrested border jumper

It has been more than a year since the ERT arrested a man at Langley Regional Airport

Around 50 Township firefighters responded to a barn fire in Aldergrove Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. (Joti Grewal/Langley Advance Times)
Send your letter to the editor via email to <a href="mailto:editor@langleyadvancetimes.com"><strong>editor@langleyadvancetimes.com</strong></a>. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Governments need to do more to aid businesses during COVID

Consumers need to realize the economic impact that buying online has on struggling local companies

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Care home staff are diligent about wearing personal protective equipment when they are in contact with residents, but less so when they interact with other staff members, B.C. Seniors Advocate says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
More COVID-19 testing needed for senior home staff, B.C.’s advocate says

Employees mingling spotted as virus conductor in many workplaces

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Most Read