Derril McKenzie leans over for a photo with the eagle that landed on the boat he was fishing from on Aug. 31. (Derril McKenzie/Facebook)

B.C. fishermen get up close and personal with eagle

The immature bald eagle shared the boat with two men for about 10 minutes

A pair of fishermen on a small lake in the Shuswap region came face-to-face with a mighty bird of prey when it landed on their boat.

Kelowna resident Derril McKenzie and his brother-in-law Dean Wirachowsky had fished Gardom Lake, located southeast of Salmon Arm, before, but their fishing trip on Friday, Aug. 31 will stand out forever.

A few hours after launching, an immature bald eagle swooped in and perched on the boat.

“That was one of the most amazing days we’ve had. We’re still talking about it,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie said he heard the flutter of feathers and thought a crow or raven had swooped low over the boat when the eagle unfurled its massive wings and came to rest on the bow. The pair hadn’t caught any fish yet so McKenzie said he is unsure what drew the eagle to them.

Related: B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

The pair were so excited by the arrival of the eagle that McKenzie said he lost all track of time but estimates the bird perched on the boat for approximately 10 minutes.

McKenzie said the winged predator was eyeing his toes protruding from sandals so he put shoes on as a precaution.

“All of a sudden all those Natural Geographic shows with footage of them them tearing apart rabbits came to mind,” he said.

Eventually McKenzie sped up the boat, hoping the bird would take flight. It did, but only enough to come to rest on his shoulders. He said the eagle perched gently, tearing holes in his T-shirt with its large talons but not digging into his flesh. The bird drew a small amount of blood when it pecked McKenzie on the arm.

Wirachowsky eventually shooed the bird away with one of the boat’s oars, causing it to fly a short distance before landing in the water. McKenzie said it swam the few metres between the boat and the shore where it perched on a low-hanging limb, allowing its feathers to dry before soaring up into the trees.

McKenzie described the experience as absolutely stunning and said he would certainly return to Gardom Lake, this time keeping his eyes skyward in case the eagle returns.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

The eagle which landed on the boat with Derril McKenzie and Dean Wirachowsky unfurls its wings. (Derril McKenzie/Facebook)

Just Posted

Laundry an essential cycle to protect Terrace firefighters from cancer

Fire hall getting a minor renovation, new washer and dryer this fall

Block party at Northern View Cannery Road Race

Terrace family top the podium in each of their racing categories

Stolen property recovered

Police briefs from Sept. 9-11

Terrace couple wins Lotto Max

Money to be put towards retirement and motorcycle trip

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

The Northern View announces inaugural Tyee Fishing Derby in Prince Rupert

More than $7,000 up for grabs for biggest legal salmon and halibut

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

Free Tesla 3 offered with purchase of Surrey townhome

Century Group’s offer for Viridian development runs through Oct. 31

B.C. communities urged to improve access for disabled people

One in four B.C. residents has disability, most want to work

Sikh millworker lodges human rights complaint against Interfor, again

Mander Sohal, fired from Delta’s Acorn Mill, alleges discrimination based on religion and disability

UVic students killed in Bamfield bus crash were from Winnipeg, Iowa City

Authorities said the two victims were a man and a woman, both aged 18

Safety concerns resurface after fatal bus crash on Vancouver Island

Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants a safe route between Bamfield and Port Alberni

Most Read