Dr. Doug Magnowksi from Animal Care Hospital in Williams Lake prepares the ‘Christmas loon’ for his flight to the Burnaby Wildlife Rescue on Pacific Coastal Airlines.

Dr. Doug Magnowksi from Animal Care Hospital in Williams Lake prepares the ‘Christmas loon’ for his flight to the Burnaby Wildlife Rescue on Pacific Coastal Airlines.

Christmas loon flies Pacific Coastal Airlines

A young loon, rescued from a small patch of open water on Horsefly Lake, was sent to Burnaby Wildlife Rescue.

A young loon, rescued from a small patch of open water on Horsefly Lake, was sent to Burnaby Wildlife Rescue thanks to good-hearted neighbours.

Horsefly residents, South Cariboo Search and Rescue, Animal Care Hospital and Pacific Coastal Airlines were all involved in the rescue.

Residents at Horsefly Lake noticed two immature loons trapped in a small open water area and decided to get help.

South Cariboo Search and Rescue team leader James Seeley explained that he got a phone call from his daughter, Becky Cadsand, from the Horsefly Lake area, saying that she had heard about two loons trapped by encroaching ice.

Dr. Doug Magnowski at Animal Care Hospital, who took in the bird and arranged its flight to Vancouver, said that reduced open water is a real risk to loons.

“A loon requires a long length of water to take off flying and the small piece of open water in Horsefly Lake basically had the two birds trapped. Everybody migrated and he got left behind,” he explained.

“Loons are amazing swimmers and divers but cannot walk on land; they can’t sit against a hard surface because it blocks blood flow from the ‘keel’, or main flying muscle – they can’t be out of water for long. We could have sent him by truck, but it would have been too long out of water and he likely wouldn’t have survived.”

Seeley said that when he couldn’t reach Central Cariboo Search and Rescue, he contacted his team members Randy McRoberts and Peter Crawshay, packed up ice rescue gear and equipment and headed to Horsefly Lake.

Becky said that the ice rescue volunteers arrived with kayaks and dry suits and that Fisheries loaned them dip nets to help with the project.

She also said that a bald eagle had been harassing the loons for several hours before the rescue.

“The ice was very thin and it was sketchy getting out there. The birds were panicking, swimming underwater and only popping up to breathe. We used salmon nets and were able to catch one of the birds. We wrapped it in a soft wool blanket and put it in a pet carrier,” Seeley explained.

“The other bird disappeared under the ice and we couldn’t find it. There is a chance that it might have made it to a larger patch of open water some distance away. We know that these birds would have perished without our interference and are so glad we were able to rescue one of them.”

When the bird arrived at Animal Care Hospital Dr. Magnowski began arranging the bird’s transport to the Burnaby Wildlife Rescue.

He explained that Pacific Coastal Airlines transports injured wildlife for the local animal hospital year round.

“They do this tirelessly around the world as a service to rescued wildlife,” he said, adding that an exception to this policy takes place Dec. 1 to Jan. 5, when traffic increases because of the holidays.

Magnowski phoned Pacific Coastal head office in Vancouver and explained the situation.

A woman in the cargo department ran it by her supervisor who made an exception, and the loon was booked on the flight to Vancouver.

“They bent all the rules to help save this bird and I think that says so much about them,” he noted.

“They deserve a huge thank you for their support for animals.”

He said that at Animal Care Hospital they treat wildlife such as deer, fox, moose, raptors, and even song birds, and that the last bird shipped from Williams Lake on Pacific Coastal Airlines was a crane.

This isn’t the first time that South Cariboo Search and Rescue has performed an intricate animal rescue.

Six years ago the team rescued a dog trapped on a cliff beside a waterfall, making national news and received a ‘best volunteer organization’ award from the RCMP.

Seeley said that they get 15-20 calls per year. “We do very extensive training and have great gear and equipment,” he said.

“It was wonderful to get to use it for such a heart-felt rescue.”

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

Just Posted

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes shared this photo of the binders and binders of letters and paperwork she’s received on area roads in the past few years. (Submitted photo)
Cariboo MLAs call on province to fix region’s roads

Minister Rob Fleming said more resources were on the way to the region

Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File photo)
RANCH MUSINGS: Drier weather good for calving season

My partner and I team up to look for any newborns and note them for later in the day

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 139 president David Brideau salutes the Cenotaph at city hall during a past Remembrance Day services in Williams Lake Monday, Nov. 11. Brideau, who served three years with the Canadian military in Edmonton, was the parade commander during the Legion’s Remembrance Day service. (Angie Mindus file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake legion looks to upgrade lounge, patio, to be COVID compliant

Upgrades will require significant financial investment, Branch 139 president David Brideau said

Williams Lake’s Daine Dubois (left) and 150 Mile House’s Isaac Bedford have been named as recipients of the 2020 Premier’s Award for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sport. (Tribune file photos)
Two Cariboo athletes honoured with Premier’s Award for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sport

“You have honoured the province, your nations, and your families.”

A worker at Gibraltar Mine north of Williams Lake. (Taseko Mines Ltd. photo)
B.C. Mining Month celebrates innovation

Mining has long been important to the Williams Lake economy

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

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

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Most Read