On the morning of Feb. 13, I was in my backyard with my dog and noticed a Steller’s jay (B.C.’s provincial bird) standing still on the ground.
My dog barked at it, and it just hopped a few steps but did not fly away. I eventually captured the bird since it was completely incapable of flying.
I brought the bird to the wonderful B.C. SPCA Wild ARC facility in Metchosin. Following an examination and x-rays, the wildlife rehabilitator identified a pellet lodged in its upper shoulder. The following day, rehabbers operated to remove the pellet and assess the damage.
While the pellet was not imbedded too far into the jay’s shoulder, it had shattered tendons and caused a very extensive infection.
The infection was spread through so much of the shoulder muscle that removal of the infected portion would have resulted in the bird never being able to fly again.
Apparently, the jay had been shot at least three to five days prior, which is why the infection had become so severe. Unfortunately, the only option was humane euthanization.
It is disturbing to think that this poor creature had been hopping around in severe pain for several days, and feeding on whatever it could find on the ground.
It is also disturbing to know that the individual who felt it necessary to shoot this bird is likely someone living in my immediate area, a conclusion based on a Wild ARC assessment that, once shot, the jay would likely have been rendered incapable of flying.
I spoke with a very helpful bylaw officer to inquire about the existence of any relevant bylaw in Colwood. Apparently one does not currently exist.
However, our neighbour Langford does have a bylaw to “Regulate the Discharge of Firearms and Bows.” The officer indicated that if the public will exists, enactment of a similar bylaw could be considered for Colwood.
Recently, I wrote Colwood to formally request consideration of such a bylaw, which would restrict the use of these weapons to very specific circumstances. Not only are they a danger to wildlife, they can also do very serious physical harm to (and potentially kill) our children and family pets.
If you are a Colwood resident and agree with pursuing this bylaw, I hope you will contact Colwood to let them know.