After some surgery and a few weeks’ rehabilitation, a crow injured last month when it was caught in netting above a baseball backstop in Centennial Park in Langford was cleared for takeoff Wednesday.
On Jan. 19, city staff rescued the bird from the netting, where a resident had spotted it earlier fighting for its life with an eagle before other crows intervened. The bird was trapped and helpless after the altercation.
The crow was transported to WildARC in Metchosin, the wild animal rehabilitation branch of the SPCA, where it underwent surgery to repair the extensive damage it had sustained.
According to WildARC wildlife rehabilitator Marguerite Sans, who performed the surgery, the crow still had netting embedded in its wing, which had badly torn open the skin on one of its wings. That injury was sutured immediately to prevent further blood loss, but the bird needed to be stabilized for a day before more invasive surgery could be done to repair the damage to the structure of the wing.
After successful surgery and a few weeks’ rehabilitation, he was declared ready to be released on Wednesday.
At the release – back at Centennial Park – Sans said based on the incremental “flight practice” he’d been doing, which involves progressively graduating birds to larger and larger aviaries while they recover from injury until it has been determined they are healthy enough to be released, the bird was healthy and shouldn’t have any lingering effects.
Anyone interested in finding out more about what WildARC is all about has the chance to do so soon, according to Heather Schmitt, assistant manager, who was also at the crow’s release.
“Ordinarily, we need to remain fairly exclusive, because our patients are all wild and very scared of people,” she says. At the end of March, however, the facility will hold its annual open house, where they welcome the public to see what they do.
“We give free tours to the public and we welcome them behind the scenes so they can see kind of what it takes to get these guys back out into the wild.”
There is no charge for the tours during the open house weekend, but registration is required because of the interest level they see from the public each year.
“It’s a really nice chance for people to be able to see the kind of work we do,” Schmitt says.
You can sign up starting at the beginning of March to attend one of the open house tours, scheduled for March 28 and 29, at wildarc.com.