For the last 17-years the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Hilden, N.S. has been helping injured wildlife.
On average, they see 30 to 40 eagles a year but last week they got an unexpected visitor — a golden eagle.
“It came to us because it was found by some lobster fishermen off the coast of Seal Island about three kilometers into the ocean, which is a very unusual location for a golden eagle to be,” said Murdo Messer, co-founder of the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.
“We figured maybe it went after a fish or got into the water going after some prey and wasn’t able to get back out,” said Messer.
“If the fishermen hadn’t scooped him up, he definitely wouldn’t have survived.”
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Messer says it’s unusual for a golden eagle to be found in this part of Canada.
“They’re usually found in western Canada, the western states, so to see a golden eagle is pretty exciting and pretty rare,” he said.
Volunteers did a a physical exam on the eagle when it first arrived at the centre to see if they could find any obvious injuries.
“Fortunately, there were no injuries that we could see. It’s body condition was good. It’s feather condition was good and it was pretty feisty and all those things would indicate to us that whatever happened to it was fairly recent,” said Messer.
“If you’re able to pick up a wild animal there’s definitely something wrong because normally they would be afraid of people and fly away or run away depending on what it is. This golden eagle was fished out of the ocean which is a very usual location for it to be because generally they’re not fish eaters. They’re like hawks, they would go after land mammals,” added Messer.
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The rehab will spend the next few weeks closely monitoring the bird to make sure he’s healthy and can fly before returning him to the wild.
“You never want to see an animal come into our center because it means they’re injured or broken or something’s wrong with it but to get such a rare species and get to study them up closely is always exciting,” said Messer.
The Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is a non-profit organization and Messer says they are accepting donations to help rehibilitate the animals in their care. You can find out more information about the rehab on their website.