Avista workers help collect
ospreys for banding as part
of a restoration project.
Post by Anna Scarlett
Recently, the Avista Foundation donated $2,500 to Birds of Prey Northwest for the construction of an eagle flight cage at the organization’s raptor rehabilitation facility near St. Maries, Idaho. In a few months, Avista employees led by Bob Beitz, Operations Manager for St. Maries and Kellogg, will set the poles and help build the flight cage.
It’s not the first time Avista has worked with Birds of Prey Northwest and its president/founder, Janie Fink. In fact, Fink has partnered with our own line workers in the protection and rescue of raptors.
“Several years ago we reached out to Jane to help us with problems we’d been having with osprey on our lines,” Beitz said.
Fink initially educated employees on raptors, and from there, the relationship continued. On several occasions, our St. Maries and Kellogg line crews have assisted her in collecting and banding baby ospreys as part of an osprey restoration program she leads.
This fall, Fink approached Beitz, who serves on the Avista Foundation Board of Directors, about a donation to Birds of Prey Northwest to update the rehab facility. An injured bird must go through physical therapy to treat its injury and build strength and flexibility for its return to the wild; this therapy includes flight exercise and flight tests. But the current aviary used for the flight exercise is too small for an eagle’s large wingspan, which can reach up to 8 feet wide for an adult.
Avista gave Birds of Prey Northwest $2,500, which, along with a pole donation from McFarland Cascade, will help Fink get the supplies to build the new cage. The flight cage will accommodate the largest raptor she cares for, but will be used to exercise all the birds.
Injured bird now Avista’s namesake
Avista is a juvenile American
bald eagle with a damaged
During the grant process, Beitz visited the rehab facility, and as Fink was walking him through, a young American bald eagle drew their attention. The eagle, an adolescent that hasn’t matured enough to get its yellow-beak and white head, has a bad wing and can’t fly – it will be a permanent resident of the facility. Fink mentioned she hadn’t yet named the eagle.
Beitz suggested “Avista.”
“She looked at me and said ‘I think there was a reason we were waiting to name this eagle,’” he said.
So the young raptor became Avista. Avista joins Beauty, a bald eagle that lost her upper beak after she was shot by a poacher in Alaska, and who has since been fitted with a prosthetic beak so she can eat and preen, as well as various owls, hawks, falcons and ospreys either living at or being rehabilitated at the facility.
While her rehab facility is not open to the public, Fink, a raptor biologist and falconer, is currently seeking funding to build the Northwest Birds of Prey Center, a public education and raptor rehab center that will be located near Lake Coeur d'Alene.