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Relearning to Fly

Relearning to Fly

A rescued hawk is returned to the wild with the help of Elkview’s environment team.

This summer, after spending a year rehabilitating at the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (O.W.L.) in Delta, British Columbia, a young red-tailed hawk found with a broken wing at Elkview Operations (EVO) was successfully released back into nature.

It’s thought that the one-year-old hawk—given the name Florence after her rescue—was in her first few weeks away from her mother when Cal Moulton, Road Crew, EVO, spotted the injured bird next to the plant road in July 2014.

From there, EVO environment team members Rick Magliocco, Casandra Knooihuizen and Rosemary Dykhuizen went into action, bringing her to safety and making arrangements for Florence to be transferred to the renowned wildlife centre.

O.W.L. rehabilitates up to 500 birds of prey every year from across B.C. with the goal of preparing them to return to the wild. There are also 40 permanent residents used for education and as foster parents if chicks or eggs are brought in, and a 24/7 hotline is available for anyone who finds an injured bird of prey.

O.W.L. Bird Care Supervisor Martina Versteeg said that once Florence’s wing healed, she spent time in a 50-footlong cage that allowed her to learn to fly and hunt.

“Her wing healed but was a bit stiff and wasn’t being used to its full extent, so we had her stay for longer than usual while she got her strength back,” said Versteeg. “Red-tailed hawks are one of the most common varieties in North America, so we had a number of others with Florence during her time here. She was able to spend lot sof time watching their behaviour and interacting with them.”

One year later, in July 2015, Florence was once again back in the care of EVO environment officers. Together, Casandra Knooihuizen and Jeff Williams released her on the edge of EVO’s property in a known red-tailed hawk habitat area.

“We hope she is doing well out there,” says Versteeg. “She will be of breeding age in the next year, so hopefully she will soon have a family of her own.”

Of the rescue efforts, EVO General Manager Don Sander expressed his appreciation: “Thank you to the employees and those at O.W.L. who went to so much effort to make sure Florence could be released. We look forward to seeing her thrive back at home at Elkview.”


First Published on April 11, 2016

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