A red-breasted Nuthatch stuck a window and fell 15-feet to the ground. Photo by MARS.

A red-breasted Nuthatch stuck a window and fell 15-feet to the ground. Photo by MARS.

Busy holiday season for MARS

Window strikes, lead poisoning some of the cases covered by the rescue organization

It’s been a busy holiday season for those taking care of animals in need.

Mountainaire Avian Rescue society has been raising public awareness about lead poisoning in eagles, after taking of a male adult bald eagle rescued from Malcolm Island who suffered from, and ultimately passed away from lead poisoning.

Additionally, the organization has also been assisting birds involved in strikes – particularly windows – and staff expect more strike injuries to increase with spring around the corner.

On Dec. 26, MARS received an eagle where staff immediately suspected a diagnosis of lead poisoning. Pearl McKenzie, chair of the communication team for the organization noted they believe some of the poisonings are due to eagles feeding on gut piles left by hunters. She explained that lead shots fragment into very small particles and travels through the body of the target animal, which makes it dangerous for people eating the meat and animals such as eagles feeding on the carcasses.

In the spring, MARS is hoping to make a film illustrating what they’ve been learning doing this work.

“We’re hoping that hunters and hunting organizations – who are by and large conservationists – will work with us to come up with ways to solve this problem,” she noted. “People use lead in ammunition for a number of good reasons so it’s not as simple as not using lead.”

RELATED: MARS seeking applicants for work experience student program

A little over a week later, MARS received a red-breasted Nuthatch who suffered from a bruised lung following a window strike and a 15-foot fall to the ground. The bird passed away from swelling in the brain and internal bleeding.

Gyl Andersen, rehabilitation manager said window strikes comprise about 10 per cent of their caseload throughout the year. Generally, they see an uptick in the fall and spring, particularly due to a large number of migrating birds passing through towns and cities. Additionally, birds may see trees or vegetation reflected by the glass, their own reflection (particularly males during breeding season) or may strike if they see plants or a pet bird near the window.

“Usually we see head trauma – they appear stunned or may have a concussion. Their eyes may not respond to light, or appear wobbly. They could also have bruising or fractured clavicles.”

Andersen recommended if a bird is found that struck a window, to place it within a box in a safe place for about 30 minutes, only if there are no obvious signs of injury. She added if there are any visible signs of injury, contact a rehabilitation facility.

In order to help prevent bird strikes, she suggested finding ways to “break up” the window by using stickers, decals, stencils, screening or netting.

For more information about MARS, visit marswildliferescue.com.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Courtenay resident labours to remove the snow build-up from around her car in February 2019. The area may see snow throughout the coming weekend. Black Press file photo
Snow, winter not done with the Comox Valley quite yet

Flurries, snow and cold temps predicted for the weekend

Dr. John Hooper is the new conductor of Island Voices. Photo supplied
Island Voices welcomes new conductor

This spring will be a time of transition for Island Voices chamber… Continue reading

From left—Rev. Ryan Slifka (minister, St. George’s); Ellen Wise (elder, St. George’s); Evangeline Mathura, (vice-president, Dawn to Dawn); Grant Shilling (outreach worker, Dawn to Dawn), with a cheque for $10,433.15.
Courtenay church donates more than $10,000 to transitional housing and support service

St. Goerge’s presents Dawn to Dawn with $10,433.15 cheque

A pine siskin is treated for salmonella poisoning at the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) hospital, in Merville. Photo by Gylaine Anderston.
Salmonella poisoning in birds and pets a result of unclean bird feeders

Have you ever endured a bout of food poisoning? If you remember… Continue reading

Inside the new shop operated by Wachiay Friendship Centre. Jared Kotyk (left), Jan Kotyk, Paloma Joy, Tim Gagnon, Jonah Hill, Jennifer Corbett and Tally, the shop dog. Photo supplied
Wachiay opens store-front arts shop in downtown Courtenay

There’s still tailor-work in the back of old AnnSew site, with the store in front

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Gin, one of the Kantymirs’ two sheep. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Sheep start up ATV, sit in cars and go for walks in Salmon Arm

Until they bought two sheep, Ken and Karleen Kantymir didin’t realize just how social the animals are

Most Read