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

BREAKING: $24M lottery ticket bought in Aldergrove by soon-to-be millionaire

Wednesday night’s Lotto 6/49 draw revealed that a winning ticket was purchased in Aldergrove

Langley residents and musicians remember Gabby’s Country Cabaret

Nightclub showcased local talent, connected friends, and even hosted a wedding during its 34 years

Fort Langley National Historic Site to reopen with limited services on June 8

No interpreters, group activities, events, or oTENTik stays will be offered until further notice

Surrey RCMP promise enforcement at unofficial show ‘n’ shines

Cars have been impounded at the site in the last two years

UPDATE: Gabby’s Country Cabaret announces ‘heartbreaking’ permanent closure

Owner Steve Gallagher ‘holds out hope’ of a new future for the 35-year-old nightlife hotspot

B.C. retirement home creates innovative ‘meet-up’ unit for elderly to see family face-to-face

Innovative ‘purpose-built’ unit keeps residents safe when seeing family for first time since COVID-19

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Aldergrove Star to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Fraser Valley libraries to offer contactless hold pick-ups

FVRL Express — Click, Pick, Go service to be offered at all 25 locations starting June 1

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

United Way allocating $6.6M in federal funding to help with food security, youth mental health

Applications from Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland charities being accepted for the emergency funding

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

Most Read