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)

Fishermen on lake near Salmon Arm 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

In health care, it does take a team

Julie Lowes is the manager at the Queen Victoria Hospital in Revelstoke

Revelstoke ladies make 2,200 cabbage rolls for charity

The money raised was donated to former NHL player Aaron Volpatti, who is raising funds for ALS

Revelstoke Golf Club open weeks early

The club didn’t open until May last year

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Clear skies and pushing 20 C

Environement Canada forcasts a sunny and warm Easter weekend

Revelstoke roads and weather: mix of sun and cloud

Heavy rains have destabilized the snowpack. Be careful in the backcountry

Update: Fire destroys Peachland home on Somerset Avenue

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze

Okanagan township’s open burning winds down

Spallumcheen reminds residents of regulation changes as open burning concludes April 30

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Summerland student examines effects of sound

Science fair project will go to national competition in New Brunswick

Cuteness overload: duckling thinks dog is its mom

Vernon photographer Fiona Hook shot a cute video after noticing one of her ducklings had taken a special liking to her dog.

Sons of Anarchy’s Kim Coates stops by Okanagan café

Coates was spotted in West Bank’s Kekuli Café on April 20

Most Read