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Errington wildlife recovery centre releases rehabilitated eagle

Denise Foster of Save Estuary Land Society selected to free bird of prey
Denise Foster of the French Creek Estuary Nature Preserve releases the rehabilitated eagle back to its natural elements, with North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre’s Animal care supervisor Derek Downes assisting her. (Deb Freeman photo)

Denise Foster was over the moon when she was given the honour of releasing a rehabilitated eagle from the North Island Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.

And when she cradled the bird of prey on April 1 and then let it leave her her arms, watching it spread its mighty wings and soar into the air, Foster of Save Estuary Land Society, said, “I have no words to describe it.”

“It’s one of the best things I have ever experienced in my whole life,” continued Foster, who was selected in recognition of her role in the successful conservation of the French Creek Estuary Nature Preserve. “The eagle was so calm when I carried it. I felt its warmth and heartbeat. It was awesome.”

Foster added although she was given the honour of releasing the eagle, she was representing all the many donors, volunteers and organizations who contributed to the conservation of the French Creek Estuary Nature Preserve. She wishes to thank all of them for their contributions and efforts.

This is the first time the eagle release ceremony was held in front of spectators at NIWRC since the COVID pandemic began. The event is held annually in conjunction with the ongoing Brant Wildlife Festival.

READ MORE: The rare white raven, Blizzard, has taken the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre (NIWRC) by storm

The centre was packed with eager and excited people, wanting to witness the freeing of the eagle. First Nations artist Bill Helin kicked things off with a drumming ceremony and send-off song.

Because there were so many people, the caretakers at the centre altered the flight plan for the welfare of the eagle and it was released quickly, leaving some people, especially shutterbugs hoping to snap the happy moment a bit disappointed.

But overall, smiles on everyone’s faces were abundant, as the eagle, after it had been released, hovered above the centre for a few moments, circling, before finally flying off to who knows where.

For more information or to make a donation to the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre, go to

Michael Briones

About the Author: Michael Briones

I rejoined the PQB News team in April 2017 from the Comox Valley Echo, having previously covered sports for The NEWS in 1997.
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