The conservation office in this small city made an exciting revelation when it rescued an Alaska-born golden eagle.
Weakened from a lack of food in difficult hunting conditions, the bird was found near death from starvation along the Thompson River in British Columbia, a location not known to host many golden eagles.
The recent bout of wintery weather which had most Canadians curled up in blankets by the fireplace, hit the eagle in the middle of it’s journey south. Just before the new year, local residents found the struggling bird and called the nearby Conservation Officer Service in Kamloops.
The eagle was carrying a GPS tracker and a band around it’s leg tracing back to Denali National Park. Denali researchers confirmed the bird was born in Alaska back in May, 2017. This new adult was having a rough go for a first-time migrator.
The eagle’s Alaskan origins was originally met with surprise. Although the Kamloops conservation officers knew the eagles migrated south from Alaska, they were not aware that the eagles passed through Kamloops on their long journey to Central Mexico.
The presence of the GPS tracker provides the opportunity to monitor the eagle’s trajectory upon release. Overtime, the conservation officers at the Kamloops facility have theorized about what happens to rehabilitated animals once released.
Animal care supervisor Adrienne Clay believes, with their migration interrupted, eagles and other migrating animals will return to their summer home to start fresh. When the weather turns cold once again, they will try another hack at the long journey. Coincidentally, the opportunity to test that theory landed in their backyard.
With a wingspan of 6-7 feet, golden eagles are excellent flyers and fierce predators. Yes, with their wings fully outstretched, they are bigger than the average height of our favourite hockey-playing Canucks! After a full recovery provided by the Kamloops conservation officers, the eagle will return to life in the wild where it can continue to hunt and live a healthy twenty to thirty years more.