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

Kenny Podmore, here seen at Sidney’s cenotaph in November, says he feels for the veterans after organizers had to cancel an event acknowledging Victory in Europe (VE) Day for the second time in as many years because of COVID-19. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich event marking 75th anniversary of VE-Day cancelled

Sidney resident first planned event for May 9, 2020 moved to May 8 before being cancelled

Individuals and businesses are encouraged to bring their unwanted electronics to Tillicum Centre May 14 to be shredded, recycled or donated. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents can shred, donate electronics safely

Vancouver Island Better Business Bureau hosts event May 14 at Tillicum Centre

Penelope the cat showed up safe and sound at her owner’s porch after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks. (Photo courtesy of Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing)
Penelope, cat and friend of the Victoria HarbourCats, returns home safe

The cat had an after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks

Work is progressing on the new student housing building at the University of Victoria. The building will be home to 398 students when complete in September 2022. (Photo courtesy of UVic)
VIDEO: Mass timber installation begins at UVic student housing project

Green technology plays key role in building that will be home to 398 University of Victoria students

Stanley Fischer (right) died while in a Victoria police jail cell hours after he was arrested on Nov. 15, 1981. Forty years later, his family is questioning his cause of death. (Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer)
Family wants investigation into man’s 1981 death while in Victoria police custody

Stanley Fischer’s death was ruled a suicide after he was found hanging in his jail cell

(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’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read