In praise of BEAKS

If any good came from last week’s death of a bald eagle that struck a power line at Taghum, it was highlighting the dedicated work of BEAKS, the Bird Emergency and Kare Society in Castlegar, whose always tenuous existence deserves our support.

Essentially it is a one-woman show: Carol Pettigrew is relied upon for her expertise in caring for injured, sick, and baby birds. Although there isn’t always a happy outcome, by her count Pettigrew has returned hundreds of birds to the wild over the years.

Despite her own health challenges, she readily accepted the injured eagle, stayed up all night tending to it, and provided it with medicine paid for out of her own pocket.

Ask Pettigrew about it and she demurs: “I just did my normal stabilizing.”

However, according to neighbours who tried to save the bird, Pettigrew was nothing short of a godsend.

“I want to make sure that woman gets acknowledged,” one said. “People are not aware of this woman’s skills, knowledge, love, her 24/7 care of these birds. What she did was amazing ... She did everything possible. She told us what to do.”

“Carol is an amazing woman,” another agreed. “She’s excellent at caring for birds. She’s intelligent, thorough, careful, and was very willing to take this eagle knowing it needed care right away. She spent four hours with us and did her best to keep this beautiful bird alive.”

However, her efforts rely on volunteers and donations, both of which are in short supply.

For two years, Pettigrew kept things going with an inheritance from her mother’s estate. Now she’s trying to make ends meet using a line of credit. “It’s pretty serious,” she said.

Indeed, BEAKS — a charitable non-profit — could use more help. In addition to cash, the website at beaks.kics.bc.ca provides a long list of supplies that would be useful.

A boost for BEAKS would ensure the bald eagle — which neighbours and Nelson Hydro crews tried so hard to rescue and save — did not die in vain.


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