Bald eagle ignites Metchosin grassfire

An unfortunate bald eagle hit a powerline, burst into flames and sparked a grassfire in Metchosin Wednesday afternoon.

An unfortunate bald eagle hit a powerline, burst into flames and sparked a grassfire in Metchosin Wednesday afternoon.

Shortly after 4 p.m. above Happy Valley and Rocky Point roads, an eagle’s wingspan likely crossed two powerlines, surmised Metchosin firefighter Capt. Eric Meredith.

Residents living across the street heard an explosion and simultaneously their power went out. Then they saw smoke.

Meredith was at the Metchosin fire hall by himself and could also smell smoke. He jumped in an engine, raced to the intersection and doused the grassfire.

“What I noticed was a charred eagle,” Meredith said. “As soon as the cross span hit both power lines, the eagle exploded on impact.”

The grass fire measured 20 by 30 feet. Eagles are commonly seen flying around that intersection.

Birds sparking fires is unusual, Meredith said. Witnesses claimed a bird flew into powerlines and lit a grass fire at Pedder Bay about seven years ago, but the body wasn’t recovered. This is the first proven case he’s seen in Metchosin.

It’s rare for birds to start fires after bursting into flames, but birds with large wingspans occasionally do touch two powerlines and electrocute themselves, said Christina Carrieres, a wildlife rehabilitator at Wild Animal Rescue Centre in Metchosin.

“This happens once in a while, but not often,” Carrieres said. In last known incident several months ago, a bald eagle hit powerlines at the Quadra Street and McKenzie Avenue intersection.

Birds which are known to have electrocuted themselves on powerlines are reported the the Ministry of Environment and that is passed on to BC Hydro. If birds repeatedly hit lines in the same locations, BC Hydro may put up bird deflectors –- which can be coils of wire that increase the apparent diametre of the cable or shiny hanging disks.

Deflectors can save birds and reduce subsequent power outages. A number of the coils were installed on lines at the Saanich-View Royal border in 2007 near Craigflower bridge after two swans electrocuted themselves.

“The deflectors are really helpful,” Carrieres said. “They are shiny and catch the sun so the birds know there is something there.”

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com

 

Just Posted

Timelapse shows Blue Morpho chrysalis morphing at Butterfly Gardens

One of many speices of butterlflies at the Buterfly Garden

Greater Victoria workforce gets older but also more diverse

By 2036, Greater Victoria will have roughly two workers for every person 65 years and older

Free blood type tattoo with donation draws crowds in Finland

One in two people is eligible and able to donate blood, but only one in 60 people actually do

Greater Victoria enjoys sunny first day of spring

Summer-like temperatures of 21 degrees hit Wednesday for first day of spring

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

View Royal council to discuss proposed 3.5% tax increase tonight

Budget open house to directly precede the council meeting

Canucks hang on for 7-4 win over Senators

Horvat nets 2 for Vancouver

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Prime minister defends Liberal budget measures as sales effort gets underway

Conservatives under Andrew Scheer say it’s a spree funded by borrowing against the future

Mayor meets with B.C. health minister on homeless taxi transfers

Two homeless people were discharged from Surrey Memorial and sent to a Chilliwack shelter

B.C. lottery winner being sued by co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Most Read