BC Wildlife Park has a hospital full of merlins getting ready for flight | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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BC Wildlife Park has a hospital full of merlins getting ready for flight

An overwhelming number of wild birds are getting ready for release into flight nets at the BC Wildlife Park.
Image Credit: BC Wildlife Park
July 16, 2021 - 6:00 AM

The fifty animals that were taken into the rehab facility at the B.C. Wildfire Park during an extreme heat wave at the end of June, are almost ready to move on.

Thirty of the animals are juvenile merlins, a small species of falcon, and they're ready to move into flight pens, says animal care manager, Tracy Reynolds.

“We have not released any of them,” Reynolds said. “They are getting to a point where they will be moved into a flight pen. We have released other animals to free up space. Once they are in the flight pen we will give them mice to get them hunting. After that we know they will be good to go.”

READ MORE: B.C. Wildlife Park is treating 50 new animals feeling the effects of the heat wave

Reynolds says they will release the merlins as close as possible to where they were found. The birds were brought in from Merritt, Kamloops and Salmon Arm areas.

“During the heat wave these birds were young and in their nests,” she said. “It just got too hot in the nests and the babies were bailing out of them. Some adults were unable to fly or hunt. The babies get water from the food the parents bring them.”

Caring for the overwhelming number of birds has been exhausting for Reynolds and her staff. She says it has been emotional as well.

“The young need to feed three times per day,” she said. “The birds are messy so there is a lot of clean up required. It gets hard when some don’t make it. For every good story there are at least a couple sad ones. It can be frustrating.”

The need for Reynolds is money to buy food. The chicks and mice are purchased from safe food sources that are pesticide free. 

“We can’t just accept food donations unless it is fish,” Reynolds said. “We do take donations of fish from the public and there has been a steady supply from the public. There is always the option of donating through our website."


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