Hobo the Eagle soars away after being cared for, then released, by staff at the Invermere Veterinary Hospital. Photo by Lizzie Midyette

Hobo the eagle returned to the wild after run-in with train

Invermere Veterinary Hospital and flight cage bring recovery to juvenile eagle

With a swoop of her wings, Hobo the Eagle took off into the sky after five and a half months of recovery at the Invermere Veterinary Hospital.

Hobo unintentionally hitched a ride on a northbound train on January 14th. Judy Ellison, technician at the clinic, says it appears the juvenile eagle was scavenging a deer carcass lying beside the tracks when a train came down the tracks.

“As the train came, she swooped up and it hit her,” Ms. Ellison describes.

This type of incident happens more often than you might think, Ms. Ellison says. She can think of at least four other birds that have been hit by trains and many, many more who end up at the clinic because of run-ins with man-made structures such as power lines, as well as vehicles. The team sees a wide range of birds too, from tiny pygmy owls to giant golden eagles.

Hobo was stuck to the train from Canal Flats all the way to Radium, where the engine stopped and the bird was removed. She was brought in with a fractured left wing and a fractured left leg. Dr. Mark Zhender got her in and out of surgery the same day, with the good doctor putting pins in her wing and splinting her fractured leg.

Hobo was kept in an isolated, quiet room in the clinic. After the pins were removed, she was moved to the flight cage where she worked to recover her strength. The goal is to keep the birds as wild as possible, so there is no coddling, and as minimal time between humans and birds as possible.

“It took her a few weeks to get off the ground,” Ms. Ellison says. “She couldn’t hop around, she had to get her strength back. Then all of a sudden you go in to feed her, and she’s up on a perch.”

The young eagle spent the next couple months recovering, to the point she was flaying laps around the 20 foot high, 20 foot wide, 100-foot long flight cage specially built for injured bird recovery. To confirm the bird was ready to be released, Ms. Ellison describes, Dr. Zhender tied a rope to Hobo and watched her fly outside.

“She did extremely well,” she says. By law, a bird must be released in the same area it was found, so on Tuesday, June 25th, Hobo was brought back to the Canal Flats area and released.

“She flew in an arc. She landed up on a bluff. We went up there, walked towards her and she flew again. She flew higher and higher, then disappeared.”

It was exciting to watch yet another bird recovered and released back into the wild, Ms. Ellison says. The team at the Invermere Veterinary Hospital has had more than 60 of these releases in the last eight or so years of operation.

Public donations help keep the birds fed. Any wild meat is welcome, from mice to gophers to fish and wild game. That is the best food for these wild birds.

A nonprofit society has recently formed to raise funds for the wild bird recovery efforts. Money will go towards the cost of treating the birds, including medications, surgery, and staff time. They have launched their first fundraiser – a raffle for a printed photograph, 16×25, of bald eagles in flight, shot by Wendy Chambers. Raffle tickets are available at the Invermere Veterinary Hospital for $2 minimum. The raffle closes September 3rd.

If you find an injured bird, Ms. Ellison says to wrap it in a blanket and bring it to the clinic yourself if you are able. Or call the Conservation Officer Service for assistance, at 1-877-952-7277.

Just Posted

Liberals’ Kootenay-Columbia candidate stands by Trudeau despite scandal

Robin Goldsbury says the prime minister’s racist photo is a learning opportunity

Canal Flats pavilion gets a financial boost

Trust provides over $1.9 million for 12 community projects

Windermere carnival this Sunday

Fundraiser event features bouncy castles, games, reptile room, laser tag, food and fun

Victory for the Rockies in first season game

Catch the next game Friday, Sept. 20th against the Thundercats

Third instance of Trudeau in skin-darkening makeup emerges

Another instance of Trudeau using makeup to darken his face has emerged, within 24 hours of the first

21 years: Grand Chief Stewart Philip to continue leading B.C. Indian Chiefs union

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip acclaimed as president of Union of BC Indian Chiefs

Murder charges laid after body pulled from Fraser River ID’ed as missing man

Accused also face one count each of attempted murder in connection with Rudy Johnson Bridge incident

B.C. MLA’s former constituency assistant charged with fraud, breach of trust

Charges announced Sept. 19 more than two years after Martin fired Desmond Devnich for alleged thefts

B.C. salmon farm inspection deal reached with Indigenous people

Monitoring to determine if any Broughton region farms stay open

RCMP seize $1.9 million in B.C. traffic stop

The driver and passenger were detained under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

Yearbook photo surfaces of Trudeau wearing ‘brownface’ costume in 2001

The report describes the occasion as an ‘Arabian Nights’-themed gala event

‘Troubling, insulting’: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh reacts to Trudeau’s brownface photo

Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democrats, responded with a call for love after Trudeau photos surface

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized, BC SPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

Most Read