A female bald eagle found floundering in the ocean near Campbell River by boaters, died amidst rescue efforts.
Campbell River resident Don Hutchinson, his son and two other people were on out on the water fishing when they saw the bird.
The boaters saw the eagle struggling in the water on Sunday afternoon and thought it was probably tangled up in a fishing net. Upon closer inspection they realized it was not tangled and desperately trying to get out of the water.
“We made a decision to rescue the eagle after we realized it was drowning,” said Hutchinson.
They slowly maneuvered the boat close to the eagle and scooped it on board with a fishing net, placed a hoodie over it and rushed to get it to the dock.
En route, Hutchinson immediately placed a call to MARS Wildlife Rescue Hospital, a non-profit based in Merville. But the bird didn’t survive the journey.
After the bird passed away before they could get it to the dock, Hutchinson called it a rather “sad story” for a Father’s Day outing.
“We tried our best to save it,” he said.
Kiersten Shyian, assistant manager of wildlife rehabilitation at MARS, confirmed that the bird was an older female and died by drowning after they found fluid in its nose, mouth and air cavities.
There were no other obvious injuries.
The eagle will be sent to Nanaimo for a necropsy, where it will also be used as a research specimen.