VIDEO: Rehabilitated eagle released back into the wild near Errington

North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre animal care supervisor Derek Downes, right, hands over the young eagle to Andrew Cotton. (Michael Briones photo)North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre animal care supervisor Derek Downes, right, hands over the young eagle to Andrew Cotton. (Michael Briones photo)
North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre staff member Andrew Cotton displays the eagle he is about to release into the wild at Little Mountain in Errington. (Michael Briones photo)North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre staff member Andrew Cotton displays the eagle he is about to release into the wild at Little Mountain in Errington. (Michael Briones photo)
North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre staff member Andrew Cotton releases the eagle. (Michael Briones photo)North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre staff member Andrew Cotton releases the eagle. (Michael Briones photo)
The eagle immediately flies away after being released by North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre staff member Andrew Cotton. (Michael Briones photo)The eagle immediately flies away after being released by North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre staff member Andrew Cotton. (Michael Briones photo)
North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre animal care supervisor Derek Downes watches the eagle fly away. (Michael Briones photo)North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre animal care supervisor Derek Downes watches the eagle fly away. (Michael Briones photo)
North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre animal care supervisor Derek Downes watches the eagle fly away. (Michael Briones photo)North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre animal care supervisor Derek Downes watches the eagle fly away. (Michael Briones photo)
The eagle flies over a cliff. (Michael Briones photo)The eagle flies over a cliff. (Michael Briones photo)
The young eagle spreads its wings and flies back into the wild. (Michael Briones photo)The young eagle spreads its wings and flies back into the wild. (Michael Briones photo)

Andrew Cotton couldn’t contain his smile and the happiness he felt, after releasing a rehabilitated juvenile eagle into the wild at Little Mountain on April 6.

The maintenance and groundskeeper at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in Errington was given the honour of releasing the majestic two-and-a-half year old bird. It was witnessed by his wife and children, along with NIWRC staff and friends.

“I have waited seven years for this, it’s phenomenal,” said Cotton. “I have been waiting for it for a while. I’ve released hawks before. I’ve release a couple of owls in the past but having such a big bird like that, a powerful bird that soared in the air like that… man, it’s amazing.”

The young eagle landed in the care of the NIWRC last summer during the heat wave that hit the region. Animal care supervisor Derek Downes said the eagle was in rough shape and was malnourished.

READ MORE: NIWRA: See how one apple core can kill or injure an eagle

“They, like us, also had a tough time dealing with the heat wave and they had difficulties hunting for food,” said Downes.

The NIWRC also released several eagles earlier this year and filmed it for the Brant Wildlife Festival. The video premiered at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre on April 10 as part of a mini film festival that featured six short films.

For more information about the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre, visit www.niwra.org.

The centre is always looking for volunteers and anyone wishing to assist can call 250-248-8534 or visit the Centre at 1240 Leffler Rd.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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