As wild animal releases go, this one was picture perfect.
Once the gate of the crate was opened, it was pure raptor rapture in Salmon Arm on Wednesday, as an immature female bald eagle was returned to the wild.
On a scale of 1 to 10, Tracy Reynolds of the B.C. Wildlife Park said “that was pretty close to a 10 for sure. Perfect release? Yes, that one was ideal.”
It was ideal because the big bird of prey was rescued earlier this year after impaling a wing on a tree branch.
Naturally, the injured eagle was affectionately named . . .
“Crash,” said Reynolds, “because she had crashed landed into that tree.”
The man who managed to climb the tree to rescue Crash was on hand for Wednesday’s release.
“It was pretty cool to see,” said Mike McPherson. “It’s a fluke I’m here.
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“I’ve been up north for a month, so I just got a text this morning, and I was like ‘Yeah, I’ll come down and check it out.’”
When Crash was released, she didn’t disappoint, flying only a few metres away to the top of a house.
That rural house is close to Crash’s home: a nearby tree.
It was a special moment, but especially sweet for the Lorenz family, which lives across the street from the tree and first found Crash.
“It’s just very exciting that all of this ended in a happy ending,” said Suzie Lorenz.
“Being able to see her not only take off safely from the pen, but know exactly where she was going. She was heading straight towards her nest.”
Crash eventually moved to a tree next to the tree with her nest in it. And just across the field, an adult bald eagle, probably a parent.
Asked whether Crash will be adopted back into her family, Reynolds said “we don’t know. Eagles are very long-lived birds that mate for life, so it’s possible, but we have no idea.”
Organizers are hoping, though, the Crash will be once again allowed to crash at her parent’s place.