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.

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

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

Metro Creative Connection Photo.
Mission council decides to revert back to ‘lifetime’ fire-pit permits

District moving towards restriction, rather than prohibition, of backyard burns

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the Fraser South region has doubled in the last two weeks. The number of cases in the Fraser East region has tripled.
Chart: Tyler Olsen
COVID-19 surge in B.C. fuelled by spikes in new cases in Fraser Valley & Surrey area

Number of newly confirmed cases has tripled in Fraser Valley and doubled in the Surrey/Langley area

John Redekop, with wife Doris, was the 2019 recipient of the Betty Urquhart Community Service Award from UFV. (Photo courtesy of UFV)
Nominations open until Oct. 30 for UFV’s Betty Urquhart Awards

Award recognizes ‘significant impact’ of volunteer work by an individual or group

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows’ NDP incumbent Lisa Beare, believes Reese Witherspoon – seen here in the series “The Morning Show,” could best play her on the big screen. (Special to The News Apple TV+/TNS)
Maple Ridge candidates cast themselves in dramatic comedies

ELECTION LEVITY: MLA hopefuls reveal who should play them on the silver screen

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

The family of Anika Janz, who died after collapsing at school, has launched a GoFundMe to assist with funeral proceedings. (GoFundMe photo)
Family of student who died launches GoFundMe

Rick Hansen Secondary School student Anika Janz, 14, died after collapsing in PE class

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Most Read