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Eagle electrocution turns heads at Vancouver Island beach

Raptor perishes while attempting to retrieve fish carcass on hydro line
Comox Valley photographer Don Tait snapped a series of photos the moment an eagle was electrocuted May 11 at Point Holmes trying to recover a salmon hanging off a power line. Photos by Don Tait.

A Comox Valley photographer quickly found out timing is everything as he snapped a series of photos last week of an eagle’s untimely electrocution from a power line at a Valley beach.

Don Tait was on a bike ride near the boat launch at Point Holmes when he spotted about half a dozen bald eagles on the shoreline at the end of the ramp.

From the corner of his eye, he saw an eagle flying parallel to him along the shoreline with what he believed to be a salmon skeleton in his mouth.

“My head went down as I rode and when I looked up again the eagle was over the road but he no longer had the fish,” said Tait. “I looked up and it was hanging from the power line.”

Being a photographer, Tait explained his instinct took over and he stopped to take out his phone after the eagle took a second pass near the powerline.

The eagle took a few more passes in an attempt to recover the salmon, and on the fourth try, Tait noted it appeared as though the bird didn’t have a lot of momentum.

“He came low and swept up and tried to grab the salmon with his talon which came around the wire and the fish. It spun around 90 degrees and its outstretched wing touched the second power line.

“There was a big pop and a light flash. A lot of people in cars at the beach were there and saw it as it landed on the boat launch ramp, electrocuted. (It was) so sad to see.”

Tait found the time stamp on his photo - 2:23 p.m. on May 11 - which matched the blinking microwave clock time when he arrived at this home in Comox, as the eagle caused a small bump in the power supply.

He added a handful of people at the scene contacted a local organization to assist with the deceased eagle.

The Record has reached out to Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society for further comment.

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Erin Haluschak

About the Author: Erin Haluschak

Erin Haluschak is a journalist with the Comox Valley Record since 2008. She is also the editor of Trio Magazine...
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