Frankie finds family of rescuers

Baby hawk rescued by community members and owl rescue group when its mother is killed by a semi truck on Highway 97 near Okanagan College...

The Monday of the Canada Day long weekend started out as typical for Vernon residents Denis and Gerry Marson.

The couple had been sitting on their patio with Gerry’s sister watching a hawk’s nest across Highway 97 near Okanagan College when the unthinkable happened.

Two baby hawks were sitting in the nest when the mother swooped down to the Marson’s yard to gather food for her nestlings. She never made it back, the result of being hit by a semi truck.

The Marsons were devastated and unsure of what they could do for the two abandoned nestlings.

“It was the holiday, we weren’t sure who we could call so it was a hard night. In the morning we called the SPCA who put us in touch with the South Okanagan Rehabilitation Centre for Owls,” said Denis.

Two members of SORCO immediately made the trip up to Vernon to try and help the birds despite not usually covering the Vernon area.

“Usually we won’t come as far as Vernon it would go to Kamloops, but the Kamloops rehabilitation doesn’t come out and get the birds, you have to bring them. We felt like we could hopefully have the resources to do this,” said Dale Belvedere of SORCO.

Belvedere and the Marsons quickly called anyone they could in order to find a boom tower that would reach high enough to extract the young birds from the nest.

“It was devastating, we knew there was no way they could survive for very long. I looked at that tree and I wasn’t sure if we were going to find anyone able to get that high,” said Denis.

Darcy Goodwin of Horizon Tree Services was contacted, and agreed to help out but couldn’t have a truck available until 3 p.m. Tuesday.

According to Belvedere a young bird needs to feed every three or four hours, but by the time the truck arrived it had been over 24 hours.

It wasn’t just starvation the birds had to survive, the weather was beginning to play a factor in their survival.

“I was here this morning and we could see the birds in the nest, then there was that hail storm that came in and we were thinking ‘oh geez they’re not going to make it,’” said Goodwin on Tuesday.

By 3 p.m. the storm had subsided but another set of rain clouds could be seen blowing in over Kalamalka Lake.

The boom was quickly set up and within a half hour had touched ground again.

Only one of the birds made it with the younger of the two having succumbed to the elements.

However, saving one of the nestlings was a triumph in itself.

“She was such a great mother, really looking after those chicks. It’s sad but at the same token we did save one, so that’s a good thing,” said Denis.

“Frankie,” the young red tailed hawk, is now with SORCO and is doing well eating raw chicken every three hours.

According to SORCO it should only take about two months to rehabilitate the hawk and release it near the location it was found.

Meanwhile the Marsons are thankful for the quick response by both SORCO and Horizon Tree Services.

“To stop and think what they did to save one little chick, it’s pretty heart warming,” said Denis.

For more information on SORCO visit