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PROWLS cares for injured eagle

Bald eagle

SEAWALK SHOWDOWN: A sunny day on the seawalk, what better time for a fight between two eagles, especially since PROWLS photographer Michelle Pennell was there with her camera to witness it all.

One eagle had swooped in and picked up a piece of fish. In no time, another eagle appeared and attacked. Why find your own fish when you can pick a fight?

The two of them crashed onto the ground and rumbled around on the path until a dog decided to join the fun. At that point, one of the eagles flew away while the other escaped from the dog, climbing the bank.

Michelle called PROWLS president Merrilee Prior, who came armed with a blanket and butterfly net. After an undignified scramble and capture, first with the net, then the blanket, Merrilee re-emerged with the eagle under control. A slide down the bank on her bum brought them back onto the seawalk. It was a hefty bird (about 13 pounds), so a rest was required while holding firmly onto the eagle’s sharp and strong and dangerous talons.

The other eagle’s talons had pierced its crop, so Dr. Barnes at Westview Veterinary Hospital had two layers to stitch up: the first internal, to keep the food going to her stomach and the second on her outer skin. After that she was sent to Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society in Delta, where they found no other injury.

Four weeks later, she returned with a Savary Island eagle and a saw-whet owl on the last flight before Pacific Coastal Airlines shut down due to COVID-19. The eagle’s throat was completely recovered and she was ready to go.

Released at Grief Point Park, where she was less likely to be attacked again, she leapt out of the cage, looked around, took off and landed exactly where resident eagles sit. She and her mate will now make up for lost time and get their family started for this year.