Campbell River meet Campbell.
She’s not looking her best right now after showering up for the big day.
The wet head feathers on the young bald eagle are punker-spiked and she squawks with attitude as Reg Westcott coaxes her from the cage.
It’s late Tuesday afternoon, the sun is shining and it is a big day for Campbell who’s fortunate to be alive.
Back in December she was found by the roadside in Campbellton, injured and emaciated.
“Maybe she was feeding on road kill and got bumped or maybe she got bumped first by a car…anyway, she was very, very skinny,” says Westcott, an animal technician and educational outreach worker with the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS).
The injured eagle, who was less than a year old, was picked up by passersby who took her to the rescue society in Merville.
There she was sheltered, fed and nurtured back to health by the dedicated team of staff and volunteers. This week, Campbell – named after Campbell River where she was found – received a clean bill of health and Westcott had the pleasure of driving her back home. Down at the end of Perkins Road, Westcott unloaded Campbell and gently carried her down to the estuary beach. And as the sun re-emerged from behind a cloud, Westcott released her.
“She found a high spot, dried off for about 25 minutes and then flew off over the water, and then straight up the Campbell River,” says Westcott.
To find out more about MARS and see some big birds up close, visit the Maritime Heritage Centre on Saturday for the eighth annual Eaglefest.
Come and meet MARS’ newest ambassador, Brinley, the great horned owl and Harrison, the Fraser Valley Eagle Festival mascot. There’s interactive fun for kids, guest speakers, displays and presentations for all.
Admission is $5 and $10 for a family of up to four. MARS members are admitted free. Eaglefest runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Campbell River Maritime Heritage Centre. For more information, visit www.wingtips.org