There was a turf war high above the City of White Rock that resulted in one of the casualties seeking refuge in the Five Corners neighbourhood.
However, the eagle paramedics were quick to administer first aid to the wounded.
The sound of squawking bald eagles above the 15100-block of Beachview Avenue captured the attention of nearby resident Bernie Blessman.
One of the three eagles, which were reportedly being harassed as they flew by a murder of crows, landed in Blessman’s neighbour’s yard and hid underneath some shrubbery, the White Rock man said.
Blessman called the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (OWL), which provides a 24/7 service for injured raptors.
A two-person crew, which Blessman described as competent, turned up and capture the bird within 30 minutes, Blessman said.
“They found it very quickly and they cornered it. And of course, they know how to handle these things.”
OWL raptor care manager Rob Hope said the female sustained a number of battle wounds, including a good sized wound to her left breast and a deep bruise near the breast bone and swollen muscles.
“She hit the ground pretty hard, which can be concerning how it goes over the next couple of days because we can’t see internally,” Hope said.
Hope said OWL applied two sutures to the wound and are running her on some antibiotics. If the bird makes a full recovery, she will be released back into the wild.
Hope said there was little doubt the injuries were caused by a fight, however, “this is minor compared to some of the things I’ve seen over the years with eagle fights.”
Eagle expert and South Surrey resident David Hancock, who has built a number of eagle nests on the Semiahmoo Peninsula and beyond, offered a theory as to why the birds were fighting.
Hancock wasn’t aware of the specifics of the injured bird, however, he noted the eagle landed between two nests the Hancock Wildlife Foundation built – one of which is located on Marine Drive and the other located in South Surrey near 0 Avenue.
Hancock said there could have been a dispute between two territorial nest owners.
“Now, disputes can involve fighting, there’s no doubt, and one can grab the other and tear pieces out and so on. Or, and this is almost as frequently in and around houses and buildings, they get locked and they come down. One of them bashes itself on a pole and gets electrocuted possibly, hits something else like a building or tree or something else or whatever it is. So they can actually get injured incidental to their fighting,” Hancock said.
Hancock said the injured bird is likely part of the Semiahmoo Peninsula resident population, not the migrating population that comes from the Arctic.
Blessman indicated that one of the most impressive things about the bird, which seemed to no longer have the ability to fly, was its size.
“It was the size of a turkey! The claws on this thing, oh my God,” Blessman said.
The bird was so big, Blessman said, that he alerted a neighbour because they owned a dog, but it wasn’t out of concern for the eagle.
“Because you know, if the dog goes after the eagle, the dog might lose. This thing was huge.”
In addition, Blessman said, the female bird had claws like needles, “I wouldn’t want to tackle it with those claws.”