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

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Interfor’s Castlegar mill is getting $35 million in upgrades. Photo by: John Boivin
Interfor to invest $35 million at Castlegar mill

Project will enhance productivity and competitiveness

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton, the historians behind popular Facebook page Lost Kootenays, are set to release a book of the same name and have just unveiled its cover showing the ghostly Hotel in Slocan City shortly before its 1953 demolition. Photo courtesy of Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton.
Popular historical Facebook page Lost Kootenays set to release book

128-page hard copy documenting history of East and West Kootenays coming this fall

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Most Read