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

Players Guild challenges Chilliwack residents to solve classic Agatha Christie whodunit mystery

The Chilliwack Players Guild is performing Murder on the Nile from Nov. 22 to Dec. 2

Chilliwack students learn about business and charity during entrepreneurship fair

Mt. Slesse Grade 8 kids will be donating 20 per cent of their business profits to the food bank

Work wrapping up in Chilliwack on the Valley Rail Trail expansion

The trail is envisioned as the north-south spine of a future cycling network

Chilliwack saw sub-tropical blast of warm air Wednesday

It didn’t break any official records but it was warmer than usual by several degrees

Around the BCHL: Junior A cities to host World Junior tuneup games

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the league and around the junior A world.

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Parents skeptical as Abbotsford school fills French immersion vacancy

School district says new teacher will start Dec. 1 closing vacancy currently filled by English teacher

B.C. to fund gender-affirming surgeries for transgender people

Roughly 100 people in B.C. travel each year out of province for lower surgeries

U.S. mayor and dying dog’s roadtrip to B.C. goes viral

First vacation in three years came a month after blood cancer diagnosis

Federal fall update expected to offer more support for struggling news industry

Ottawa committed $50 million over five years for local journalism in ‘underserved communities’ last budget

UK’s May appeals to public on Brexit, braces for more blows

British Prime Minister Theresa May answered questions from callers on a radio phone-in, the day after she vowed to stay in office

VIDEO: Stan Lee leaves posthumous message for his fans

Marvel Comics’ co-creator died on Monday at the age of 95

$136M in transit funding coming to B.C.

The announcement was made at the BC Transit yard in Langford on Friday morning

Ottawa apologizes to Japanese family in B.C. after chopping historic cherry trees

Plaque installed in Prince Rupert to honour the memory of Shotaro Shimizu

Most Read