‘Irresponsible’ people keeping raptors as pets in southern B.C.

Three cases of people keeping birds of prey as pets documented

A great horned owl has been euthanized and a red-tailed hawk is facing a similar fate due in large part to the “irresponsible and illegal” human behaviour.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service and SORCO Raptor Recovery Centre (based in Oliver) dealt with three cases recently, including two on the weekend, of people trying to keep the birds of prey as pets.

In the case of the red-tailed hawk, nicknamed Daisy, the raptor was found by an Armstrong man in his backyard when she was about two weeks old, according to SORCO manager Dale Belvedere.

She said the unidentified man kept the bird for nearly two weeks, feeding her only boneless, skinless chicken and as a result, the bird has not developed properly.

READ MORE: Birds of a feather flock together at Okanagan raptor recovery centre open house

“It’s not a good story. She is standing now but she’s really small for her age because she didn’t get what she needed and she is completely, completely imprinted on humans,” said Belvedere. “She’s not even flying. She should be trying and is about half the size of a red-tail chick should be.

“Raptors eat the complete rodent and then they digest it and they get the calcium and magnesium from the bones and fur and then regurgitate them so she didn’t get that from a couple of weeks old.”

According to the manager, the man eventually called Conservation saying the hawk was not eating.

“They (Conservation) forced him to come down from Armstrong that night they were so livid he had her,” said Belvedere. The man was given a written warning.

The other two cases last weekend involved great horned owls.

One was in the Mission area near Kelowna where a woman reportedly found an injured owl on the side of the road. She contacted SORCO and was instructed to take the owl the veterinarian.

“The woman called the vet and said she’s not bringing it in she was going to keep it as a pet because it was so cute. This was an adult and it only had half a wing and it was missing three toes,” said Belvedere.

She said the vet told her how dangerous the bird could be and it was finally brought it in and euthanized.

“I think that was Sunday morning they brought it to the vet, and the people had had it since Friday night, so this poor bird suffered terribly,” said Belvedere.

READ MORE: Friendly falcon now in residence at Okanagan raptor rehab centre

The other incident involved a person who found a great horned owl on the highway between Osoyoos and Keremeos and took it home to Salmo, nearly four hours away.

“The lady who found it finally called me and I instructed them to bring it to the vet in Nelson and they didn’t and she shut off her cell phone,” said Belvedere who immediately contacted Conservation.

After four days, during which time the bird did not eat, it was taken to the vet in Nelson and has since been transferred to SORCO.

“It’s completely emaciated and it’s very, very weak,” said Belvedere. “People don’t understand it is illegal to keep a bird of prey because they are the property of the ministry (Environment and Climate Change Strategy) and they could receive a very hefty fine, as well as the longer it takes for us to get the bird, the less chance it has to survive.”

Micah Kneller, Conservation Officer for the North Okanagan, stressed the importance of turning in found birds to organizations best equipped to take care of them.

“People have the best interests of the bird at heart but in actuality, they don’t. They don’t have the skills or the knowledge to rear them. In the long run, it ends up being worse for the birds,” Kneller said. “We ask that if people find injured or orphaned wildlife to call a RAPP line number at 1-877-952-7277 and they can receive instructions from us from there.”


 

@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


 MarkBrett
Send Mark Brett an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chemainus & District Baseball Association season on hold due to COVID-19

Shouts of Play Ball! would normally have started being heard next week

Province restricts open burning across much of the Cowichan region

No new fires may be initiated in all high smoke sensitivity zones

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Long list of events disrupted by COVID-19 around the community

Challenging situation affecting fundraisers, entertainment, sports and more

Evening world update: U.S. restrictions extended 30 days; NY deaths near 1,000

Comprehensive world update, with the latest developments in the COVID-19 crisis

‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

Most Read