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.

Just Posted

Agassiz study to look at drone use for pesticide application

The study will be the first in Canada to use drones to apply pesticides to farm fields

Delays en route for Highway 7 in Harrison Mills

Road resurfacing will cause month-long delays for drivers travelling through Harrison Mills

The luckiest man in Agassiz finds more than 200 four-leaf clovers

Walt Hardinge has found more than 219 four-or-more leaf clovers this spring alone

Chilliwack’s pediatric observation unit gets financial shot from trades workers

Unions and contractors donate more than $30,000 to Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation

Missing Chilliwack man not heard from since January

Kristopher Shawn Couture, 25, last made contact with family from Edmonton

VIDEO: Quadriplegic man takes flight over Harrison Mills

Jim Ryan hasn’t moved his arms or legs for three years, but that didn’t stop him from paragliding

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Body found after fire at Surrey homeless camp, police say

Surrey RCMP say the body was found inside a shed after firefighters extinguished the fire

RCMP probe hit-and-run of Richmond senior

The man, who is in his mid-70s, was walking with his wife when he was allegedly struck

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Coquitlam crash kills one person, injured two others

Investigators with the RCMP criminal crash unit are working to determing the cause of the incident

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

Vancouver man in serious condition after crash between motorcycle, transport truck

The man, 40, remains in hospital after a Thursday collision. Police believe speed was a factor

Most Read