Chopper story inspires artist to help Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society

Maj Birch presents helicopter pilot Norm Snihur with a Brian Scott print. - Photo submitted
Maj Birch presents helicopter pilot Norm Snihur with a Brian Scott print.
— image credit: Photo submitted

Local Artist Brian Scott has donated a beautiful painting of Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) to help raise funds for wildlife.  Titled Mnt Avery Rescue from Helicopter, the painting depicts a photo of an overhead view of the wildlife center taken in 2005.

The original photograph can be found on MARS’ website and in their brochures.

It was taken from a helicopter that helps to transport wildlife for many rehab centers in the region and Scott was inspired by the unusual story of the photograph.  The helicopter crashed in a field adjacent to the wildlife centre, just after the photo was taken.

Fortunately, the pilot survived his extensive injuries, although his helicopter was beyond repair.

He is now flying again in a newer R22 and has completed many missions for MARS since. Prints made of this painting are now available from MARS this holiday season to help the wildlife centre raise funds. MARS is in need of funding to secure the future of their wildlife rehabilitation centre, located in Merville.  This mainly volunteer- run organization has been accepting wildlife calls from the north end of Vancouver Island for over 17 years. They average from 300 to 500 cases each year and receive at least three times as many phone calls requesting information on wildlife issues. The centre rescues over 50 Bald Eagles each year which is putting a strain on their resources. Recently they released five juvenile eagles in one day.

MARS cancelled their Harvest Banquet and Auction this year due in part, to poor attendance and intense competition in a slow market.  Although the banquet, cooked with food donated by local farms is popular, the auction was getting very few bids on the art and gift items generously donated by local businesses.  As this was the society’s main fundraiser of the year, the funds have been greatly missed.

“This year,” says wildlife rehabilitator and manager, Maj Birch, “we invite our supporters to attend our ‘Non-Event.’  Log into our website where you will not need to get dressed up, go out, or worry about a designated driver.”

With a donation to the charity, you will receive a tax receipt and a matted copy of Scott’s print (a $30 value) as a thank you for your non-attendance and get the satisfaction of knowing that you have supported MARS in ‘Helping Wildlife Recover.’”

There are also gift items, including the Brian Scott prints, listed on their web page under Christmas Gift Giving - Naturally.  Some of the prices have actually been lowered, so please check with us for the new prices. We have some wonderful bald eagle head chocolates available from Hot Chocolates, also.

Visit  or call 250-337- 2021 to purchase a raffle ticket, featuring a beautiful print by Mark Hobson, a picnic backpack, including a wine kit from Grape Expectations, or a beautifully designed sweatshirt by Dianne Pollock, paired with a couple’s Spa experience on Quadra Island.

Also available are MARS Xmas cards, birdhouses with suet balls, and cute little stuffy bald eagle key rings.

They also have a site on Café Press ( where you can order t-shirts and other gift items with local wildlife themes, including a wonderful bald eagle design by artist, Robert Lundquist.  Or, for the animal lover on your list who has everything, consider a Wildlife Sponsorship or Animal Release viewing certificate, available in several denominations.

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