Andrew Cotton couldn’t contain his smile after releasing a rehabilitated juvenile eagle into the wild at Little Mountain, on Central Vancouver Island, on April 6.
The maintenance and groundskeeper at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in Errington had the honour of releasing the majestic two-and-a-half year old bird, an experience witnessed by his wife and children, along with NIWRC staff and friends.
“I have waited seven years for this, it’s phenomenal,” Cotton said. “I have been waiting for it for a while. I’ve released hawks before. I’ve release a couple of owls in the past but having such a big bird like that, a powerful bird that soared in the air like that… man, it’s amazing.”
The young eagle landed in the care of the NIWRC last summer during the heat wave that hit the region. Animal care supervisor Derek Downes said the eagle was in rough shape and was malnourished.
“They, like us, also had a tough time dealing with the heat wave and they had difficulties hunting for food,” Downes said.
The NIWRC also released several eagles earlier this year and filmed it for the Brant Wildlife Festival.
For more information about the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre, or to plan your visit, visit www.niwra.org. The centre is also looking for volunteers – call
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