This young female bald eagle has been recovering at Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society’s (MARS) facility in Merville. File photo/Black Press

MARS puts out call for food for eagles on Vancouver Island

Rescue centre in Merville has now treated more than 20 eagles since new year

It’s been a tough winter for eagles on Vancouver Island, says animal rescue volunteers.

MARS Animal Rescue Centre has put out a call for food to help the birds they are treating. While winter is typically a tough time of year for the birds, this one has been especially harsh. Already since January, the staff and volunteers of the Merville area operation have treated 23 birds, some of which have not made survived.

While the problems have various sources, including vehicle strikes, hunger remains an underlying factor.

“They’re starving,” Jo Stiles, senior caregiver at MARS, told Black Press. “There’s not enough food in the environment for them.”

Unlike last winter, when there was a better early salmon run and more of the birds survived, this year the food sources have been scarce. This has forced the birds to look for alternate sources of food. This includes road kill, which increases the chance the birds can be struck by passing motorists, especially on the highways.

Stiles warns motorists to keep an eye for the birds feeding at the side of the road. Several of the birds brought in had been injured as a result of vehicles. When Black Press visited MARS last month, one young female that had an injured wing is now close to recovering and will be ready for release. Another wasn’t so luck, Stiles said, and just had to be euthanized.

Some eagles have been eating more smaller birds, including some game birds that might, legally or illegally, have been struck with lead shot. This, in turn, can get into the eagles’ systems when they ingest the prey. Again, the eagles are feeding off these birds because of a lack of more typical food sources for them. Many brought in are showing of malnourishment.

RELATED STORY: MARS seeing influx of sick, injured eagles from north part of Vancouver Island

“We’re feeding a lot of them,” Stiles said.

MARS is asking anyone with spare meat to consider donating it to the rescue centre to get them through this tough stretch. An example would be if someone has a spare salmon in their freezer from last year that they might not need.

“In an ideal world it would be deer or elk,” she said. “Fish is a priority.”

However, other meat such as chicken or beef will do too, she added. It should not be freezer burnt or more than two years old though.

“The food value of the meat decreases,” she said.

The herring run should return around mid-February, which will alleviate problems in connection with starvation. Stiles cautions that MARS will still have to deal with eagles that have gotten sick in connection with ingesting lead.

For more information, see http://www.marswildliferescue.com/ or call 250-337-2021.

Just Posted

OPINION: Urgent care room will cost lives

“Seniors, of any demographic, are the most vulnerable to the loss of emergency care.”

James Hayward coroner’s inquest rescheduled hours away from where RCMP shooting occured

The family is “a bit disappointed that it’s going to be held in Campbell River”

Deadline looming for North Island College scholarship applications

Students have until April 24 to apply for a record number of… Continue reading

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

Gil’s Girls win Harvey Walkus Memorial Ball Hockey Tournament in shootout

This year the tournament was held at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena on April 12-14.

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

B.C. senior sentenced for sexually abusing special-needs granddaughter

73-year-old Cortes Island man will go to jail for three years

Howe Sound Queen sailing toward retirement

Vessel now up for auction ends regular runs between Crofton and Vesuvius at the beginning of June

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Most Read