Hydro crew in Ashcroft gets osprey rescue call-out they won’t soon forget

The freed osprey keeps a wary eye on its rescuers after being deposited on its nest. (Photo credit: Greg Hiltz)The freed osprey keeps a wary eye on its rescuers after being deposited on its nest. (Photo credit: Greg Hiltz)
The osprey dangles helpless from a piece of baling wire. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)The osprey dangles helpless from a piece of baling wire. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
Zac McKee and Greg Hiltz of BC Hydro approach the osprey. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)Zac McKee and Greg Hiltz of BC Hydro approach the osprey. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
McKee and Hiltz gather the osprey carefully into an overcoat to immobilize it. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)McKee and Hiltz gather the osprey carefully into an overcoat to immobilize it. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
The osprey has been freed from the baling wire. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)The osprey has been freed from the baling wire. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
The freed osprey is deposited in its nearby nest while its partner flies overhead. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)The freed osprey is deposited in its nearby nest while its partner flies overhead. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
The freed osprey keeps a wary eye on its rescuers after being deposited on its nest. (Photo credit: Greg Hiltz)The freed osprey keeps a wary eye on its rescuers after being deposited on its nest. (Photo credit: Greg Hiltz)

A BC Hydro crew in Ashcroft got an unusual call-out on April 19, and ended up having a close encounter of the avian kind as they worked to free an osprey that had become tangled in baling wire dangling from a hydro pole.

Just after 5:30 p.m., a resident reported the trapped osprey near the bridge that crosses the Bonaparte River at the northern edge of Ashcroft. The pole had been “capped” to prevent osprey nesting on it, and a pair of the birds had established a nest on a blank pole a few feet away, erected by BC Hydro for that purpose.

However, remnants of a previous nest still dangled from the live pole, and one of the adult osprey got a leg tangled up on a dangling piece of baling wire. The bird was hanging upside down from the pole, unable to free itself, when Greg Hiltz, Zac McKee, and Sean Donaghy of BC Hydro arrived to assess the situation.

Hiltz and McKee went up in a bucket while Donaghy created a point of isolation to be sure it was safe for the others to ground the power lines to get the bird out. They had a large overcoat with them, which they usually use when rescuing cats, although the felines generally risk one of their nine lives and jump before they can be caught in the coat.

After grounding the power lines, Hiltz and McKee edged closer in the bucket. The osprey’s partner circled overhead throughout the rescue effort, keeping a close eye on the proceedings.

The two men managed to safely enfold the osprey in the coat, and held it firmly as the baling wire was removed and the bird was freed after its nearly two-hour-long ordeal. Then, keeping a careful grip on it, they swung the bucket over to the nest and deposited the bird onto it. Hiltz said afterward that the bird was staggering, but that its leg did not appear to be broken.

The men removed the dangling wire from the hydro pole, to ensure that the incident would not be repeated, and received a hearty round of applause from the dozen or so onlookers as they returned to the ground.

Next morning the bird was found by the river, still alive but with an injured leg. As of the time of going to press, arrangements were being made to have the bird transported to the B.C. Wildlife Park in Kamloops for assessment and possible medical assistance.



editorial@accjournal.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Ashcroft

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

Just Posted

Red dot shows location where fisherman was rescued by boater on Friday, May 7, 2021. Other fisher still missing presumed drowned after boat swamped on Fraser River near Vedder/Sumas confluence. Rescued man swam to shore after boat sank, while friend is still classified as missing as of May 10. (City of Chilliwack map)
Fisherman still missing after boat flipped on the Fraser River

One man made it out, other still missing, after anchor got snagged in the Fraser near Chilliwack

Graduating goalie Mathieu Caron stops Prince George forward Nick Rheaume in Sunday’s season finale at the Chilliwack Coliseum. (Darren Francis photo)
Chilliwack Chiefs say goodbye to departing vets in pod season finale

Longtime goalie Mathieu Caron and captain Kyle Penney are among the players aging out of the BCHL

Kent-Harrison Search and Rescue workers and emergency personnel set up a command centre on Friday evening. It took KHSAR to find a lost hiker who veered off-course near Campbell Lake west of Harrison Hot Springs, finding them about 380 metres off-trai and escorted them safely to the trailhead. (Photo/Kent-Harrison Search and Rescue)
Kent-Harrison Search and Rescue guides lost hiker home

Hiker ended up almost 400 metres off-course as darkness fell on May 7

Joan Septembre went for a weekend hike at Lindeman Lake, parking next to a vehicle that had two windows smashed in. (submitted photo)
Thieves active at Lindeman Lake and other parking spots along Chilliwack Lake Road

The hiking community is lamenting an uptick in car theft and vandalism as the weather gets nicer

Coho smolts. (Tanis Grower photo)
OPINION: A giant, invisible problem for Fraser salmon and how to fix it

‘Successful examples of salmon-friendly flood control can already be found throughout the Lower Mainland’

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are in the Comox Valley for their annual spring training. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Suspected bird strike on Snowbirds plane during training in B.C.

Pilot followed protocols and landed the aircraft on the ground without any problems

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

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

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

Most Read