Feathered evacuees are fine

While there haven't been any human evacuations due to the Eagle Bluff wildfire, 28 feathered evacuees have landed in Kamloops.

The burrowing owls arrived Monday, after the manager of the South Okanagan Rehabilitation Centre for Owls breeding facility spent the night catching them.

"Lauren, who's the facilitator for the burrowing owl recovery team down there, had to catch them all in the dark," says Tracy Reynolds at the B.C. Wildlife Park in Kamloops. "She was very relieved when she got them up here, and we did a headcount and they had caught them all."

"She had to keep them at her house overnight and then they brought them up in the morning."

The birds are now staying at the Kamloops burrowing owl facility. Reynolds expects them to stay a minimum of a couple of weeks in case the fire flares up in the future. It's stressful, for humans and birds, to transport them so far, she says.

"Logistically, to catch them all again and coordinating to get them back down is not that easy; we want to make sure when we move them back down it's permanent, so it might be the fall."

On the upside, the owls shouldn't be too weirded out by their new digs (literally). The facility near Oliver and the local one are similar since they're part of the same conservation effort.

"I think the facilities were built quite similar, so they're used to this kind of setup. We all use the same type of burrow structure," Reynold says. "You're just at the Best Western in Kamloops instead of the Best Western in Oliver."

However, the Oliver owls are being kept separate from the Kamloops clans, since they hang out in family groups and can be territorial.

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