Raptor care manager Rob Hope stands with Sonsie, a resident bald eagle at the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society’s Delta facility. The society will be hosting its annual open house May 5-6, 2018. (Grace Kennedy photo)

Meet Delta’s raptors at OWL open house

The Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (OWL) is opening its doors to the public this weekend

Last year, 770 raptors came through the doors of Delta’s Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (OWL). This weekend, the public will get a chance to as well.

OWL is hosting its annual open house on May 5 and 6 this year, giving visitors a chance to look inside one of Canada’s busiest raptor rehabilitation centres.

“It’s the only time that people can see behind the scenes of an active rehabilitation facility like ours,” Martina Versteeg, raptor care supervisor at OWL, said.

“It’s a way to be transparent and have people see what we actually do here,” she continued. “It’s amazing to be this close to birds of prey, so giving everyone a chance to do that will make them more passionate about them, and help prevent more injuries in the future.”

Preventing injuries is something that Versteeg is keen on doing, as a record number of injured birds came through their doors in 2017.

“We hope that we’re not going to break that record again, because we don’t want them to be injured,” she said, “but definitely if they’re damaged and injured and need help, we’re here for them.”

“We try to be an open door for any of the birds of prey that need help.”

RELATED: Delta raptor rehabilitation society opens for its annual open house

Right now, many of those birds that need help are babies.

“We have a few of our foster parents that are permanent residents raising the young,” Versteeg said. “Eventually they’ll be released back to the wild, because they know they’re an owl and they grow up with skills here. There’s a lot of cool things that you can learn about when you come by.”

During the open house, visitors will get a chance to tour OWL’s rehabilitation centre, looking at the areas normally not open to the public while learning how the society rehabilitates the birds and releases them back into the wild. They will also be able to visit some of the society’s resident birds, while enjoying food and educational programming.

The centre, located at 3800 72nd St., will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both May 5 and 6, with admission by donation. But the highlight of the open house takes place will be at 1 p.m.

That’s when, on each day, OWL will release a raptor that is ready to return to the wild after being cared for by the society. This year, Versteeg expects they will be releasing a juvenile eagle and an adult Cooper’s hawk.

The eagle was brought in to OWL with damaged webbing in her wing and a hurt tendon. Now, after her stay at the centre, she has adapted to her injury and will likely be heading back to the wild during the open house.

The Cooper’s hawk was actually brought in from Tsawwassen, after likely hitting someone’s window or fence. He had a damaged shoulder, but is now flying well and is ready to be released.

“It’s a wonderful event for all ages, and pretty much there’s something for everyone,” Versteeg said about the event.

The open house will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 5 and Sunday, May 6 at O.W.L.’s bird care centre (3800 72 Street). Admission is by donation.



grace.kennedy@northdeltareporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Wildfire update: Fires burning in Fraser Canyon, Highway 7 and Skagit Valley

Several fires in the region are under ‘modified response’ meaning no firefighters are attending

Update: Highway 1 reopened after single-vehicle rollover north of Yale

Single-vehicle crash with three occupants happened at Saddle Rock Tunnel at 10:15 a.m.

Highway 7 down to one-lane alternating as crews fight Mt. Hicks wildfire

150-hectare blaze prompted closure of a provincial park

Night patrol on Chilliwack waters leads DFO to seize 48 sockeye and harbour seal from poachers

Charges pending after two poachers arrested for fishing at night

WATCH: Recruitment set to start for the Molson Coors Brewery at Chilliwack

There were about 1,000 jobs during the construction phase and some staff now being sought

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Hot, dry conditions forces drought rating to highest level on Vancouver Island

The province says Vancouver Island is under Stage 4 drought conditions

Victoria police say explicit calls continue to target women

Over 50 reports of unwanted, sexually explicit calls have come in

‘It’s like a party in your mouth’

B.C. creator’s Milkshake Burger makes its debut at the PNE

Get involved in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count

Environmental organization develops app to help with the nationwide count

Pesticides linked to bee deaths will be phased out in Canada, sources say

Neonicotinoids, or neonics, are a class of pesticides used by farmers and hobby gardeners alike

Most Read