Raptors to the rescue of raptors

A new local raptor rescue society is now licensed to rehabilitate injured raptors and return them to the wild. - courtesy The Raptors
A new local raptor rescue society is now licensed to rehabilitate injured raptors and return them to the wild.
— image credit: courtesy The Raptors

Raptor rescue is taking flight once again in Cowichan.

About three years after Pacific Northwest Raptors lost its right to treat and rehabilitate injured wild birds, a new raptor rescue hospital is opening in Cowichan.

The Raptor Rescue Society has formed, working in conjunction with PNW on a raptor rescue and hospital operation, licensed under a permit from the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Society president Nick Jarvie has been handling and working with wild birds for more than a decade.

"Previously injured birds were transported to Metchosin, Errington, Victoria or Saltspring Island and there was a need for a mid-Island facility," he said. "Now injured birds are spared the stresses of being transported.

"With a local facility, we believe more birds can be quickly rescued, meaning more will be treated and returned to the wild."

Local raptor rescue had been carried out through PNW during the first eight years of its existence through annual permits. But that ended in 2011 when the Ministry of Environment ruled the centre was in a potential conflict situation. It was concerned the centre's commercial breeding program could create a conflict of interest with its rehabilitation efforts.

The creation of the separate society, which will operate its hospital on Mays Road, sidesteps that.

It will tap the resources and the expertise of PNW in its rescue and rehabilitation efforts, but operate independently.

Robyn Radcliffe of PNW worked with the society to acquire the permit. Under PNW's previous permits, it rehabilitated about 80 injured birds of prey each year. She is happy to see that service return locally.

"Now people in Cowichan have someplace to bring injured birds. Long-term, the facility will provide public education about raptors as well."

Effective immediately, injured raptors can be brought to Pacific Northwest Raptors, 1877 Herd Road. Or call 250-732-2024 for expert help. When in doubt, make the call.

"Large birds and raptors can be dangerous when injured," Radcliffe said. "Call us and we will make every effort to send a trained responder."


Helping the fledgling take flight

The public is invited to help celebrate and pay for the launch of the Raptor Rescue Society at a June 7 fundraiser from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Pacific Northwest Raptors on Herd Road.

"Proceeds from the evening go to the society to stock the hospital and help injured raptors," society president Nick Jarvie said. "We really appreciate the donations that have already come in to help make this happen."

Guests will enjoy flying demos, special tours, burgers, hot dogs and family fun. Admission is $5 for children, $10 for seniors & students, Families (two adults and up to four kids) are just $30. Call 250-732-2024, or search Raptor Rescue Society on Facebook for details.

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