This eagle was found on the side of Highway 1 by an Abbotsford homeless man, and brought to the OWL Rehabilitation Society in Delta. Submitted photo

Society looking for Abbotsford homeless man who saved injured eagle found on highway

OWL Rehab Society looking to reunite man with eagle if it is ultimately able to fly again

A raptor rehabilitation group is looking for an Abbotsford homeless man who helped save an eagle after it was hit by a vehicle on Highway 1.

Rob Hope, raptor care manager with the Orphaned Wildlife (OWL) Rehabilitation Society in Delta, said the group got a call from the Abbotsford Police Department Friday saying they had a man with an eagle on the side of Highway 1 wrapped in a jacket.

“So we sent a volunteer out while the officers waited with the gentleman. Our volunteer picked him up and brought it to the centre, and he has a broken right wing at the elbow,” Hope said, adding that it’s not uncommon to see eagles hit by vehicles.

“Depending if they’re fighting or how low they’re flying, a car may clear them, a pickup truck may clear them, but then if a big rig comes along, then of course he’s got that extra height, which can wail them. Sometimes they will go to the side of the road for food … so there’s a combination of why they would get hit.”

RELATED: Eagles being electrocuted by power lines

RELATED: B.C. photographer injured after eagles plunge from sky

Because of where the break in the wing occurred, Hope said it’s impossible to do surgery without causing more harm, and it’s only about a 50-50 chance that the bird will recover well enough to fly, depending on how the break heals.

But the eagle will be held at the centre in the meantime, where its wing is currently wrapped in what is called a “figure eight wrap” to secure the wing. Over the course of three to five weeks, the wing will remain wrapped up, and the eagle’s caregivers will “manipulate the wing periodically throughout the process.”

“What we’re hoping for is that that bone will calcify, and he’ll still have movement in that wing,” Hope said.

After that period, they’ll put the eagle in a larger flight cage to see if he is able to fly, “which is sort of the end for him.”

Once they are sure the bird can fly, Hope said they will release the bird, which he added was a younger bird – about two years old – and would not yet have eaglets to care for.

It’s in that moment, though, when they look to release the eagle, that the OWL Rehab is hoping to contact the homeless man who found the bird on the side of Highway 1. Hope said if they do manage to keep the bird healthy and it is ultimately able to fly, they would like to reunite the man, named Trevor Sweeney, with the eagle for the release.

“Unfortunately, he didn’t have a phone, so we want … if somebody knows him to give us a call so he can check up on the bird,” Hope said.

“He was nice enough to stop his bike and pick it up off the highway, which was really nice of him.”

It’s not the first time the OWL Rehab has gotten assistance from members of the Lower Mainland’s homeless communities, who are more often outside, travelling by foot and in places like parks where you might find wildlife more easily.

One homeless camp in Coquitlam got three owls for the rehabilitation centre, while a man near Stanley Park in Vancouver helped with a young Eaglet, “and he even donated 20 cents of Canadian Tire money to us.”

On top of looking to reconnect Sweeney with the eagle if it fully rehabilitates, the volunteer who picked up the eagle from the homeless man is looking to give him $20 if he can track him down.

Report an error or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Abbotsford News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Okanagan Minor Lacrosse cancels box season

COVID-19 wipes out indoor lacrosse; group hopeful outdoor field season will start in August

Vancouver Foundation grants benefit Okanagan-Shuswap residents

Grants of up to $500 available for ideas that connect people socially or involve sharing skills

UPDATED: Two sent to hospital by air ambulance following Enderby highway accident

Drivers involved in collision on Highway 97A in Enderby; serious, but not life-threatening injuries

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Public can attend essential CSRD meetings again

Four members of the public are all that can be accomodated in the board room with social distancing.

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Water quality advisory rescinded for Central Okanagan system

Turbidity levels improve enough to rescind advisory issued for Killiney Beach system May 11

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Summerland once had Old English theme

Design guidelines were introduced in late 1980s

Most Read