A golden eagle is lucky to be alive after it was poisoned in rural Grand Forks.
B.C. Conservation Officer Kyle Bueckert released the eagle at an acreage on the 8600-block of North Fork Road Thursday, May 13.
The eagle likely suffered “secondary poisoning,” which can kill birds and other animal species that feed on poisoned rodents, Bueckert explained.
Homeowner Laura Greaves said she rescued the eagle on Sunday evening, May 9. She and her friend Steve Biglow spent three hours fending off crows hellbent on “dive-bombing” the eagle after it fell from a tree in her front yard, she said.
“He really went downhill — fast,” she said, adding that the eagle had drawn its clenched talons up to its chest shortly after she notified the 24-hour Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline.
Biglow, who raises falcons on his North Fork property, said he and Greaves’ neighbour Kyle Whyte called Bueckert before sheltering the eagle in Whyte’s barn.
Bueckert said the eagle appeared to be dead when he arrived at the barn Monday morning. He then rushed the bird to a volunteer in Rock Creek, who delivered it to the South Okanagan Raptor Centre (SOCO) in Oliver.
It took three doses of the antidote Vitamin K-1 to thwart the “slow, cruel death” SOCO manager Dale Belvedere said comes from rodent poisoning. “We got him just — just — in time,” she told The Gazette.
“Obviously, he’s a fighter.”
Belvedere granted that poison holds out the allure of impersonal killing when it comes to dealing with vermin. But it takes poisoned rodents around three to five days to die of internal bleeding. One might prefer not to have to deal with conventional mousetraps, but there’s no suffering after the hammer drops, she said.
Bueckert said he was happy to release the eagle, which he and The Gazette saw flying with another eagle at around noon Thursday.
“It’s not too often that a poisoned eagle gets to come back to life and rejoin its family,” he said.