After a strange detour that lasted more than two years, a little bird has been released back into the wild here in B.C.
The Bullock’s oriole was first spotted in eastern Ontario back in 2015, likely blown off course by a storm during migration.
The bird’s normal migration pattern ranges from southern B.C. all the way down to Central America, which is where she should have been spending the winter. Instead, she ended up in Pakenham, Ont., located southwest of Ottawa.
“They theorize that she got blown off course as a result of a winter storm that actually blew through that area just before she turned up,” Laura Evans, of the Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C., said.
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The oriole landed in the backyard of Ray Holland, a local birdwatcher who realized she was a long way from home.
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He took the half-frozen bird to the Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre where she had two frostbitten toes amputated.
After being nursed back to health, she was flown back to B.C. on an Air Canada flight last week.
Following a few days of rest, the oriole was finally released back into the B.C. sky on Tuesday.
“It’s always a good day when we can release birds into the wild,” Evans said.
Before the bird was released, staff said a few words in honour of Holland, who passed away on Aug. 10 shortly before the oriole returned home to B.C.
As for the oriole, Evans said, “she will probably spend a few days here getting used to her new surroundings and by then hopefully she’ll find a flock to go with then she will fly south and return here next breeding season to have babies.”
– With files from Linda Aylesworth