My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Second Chance for a Barn Owl

September 30, 2015

On September 10, Bill West, the manager of Red Rock Lakes Refuge, forwarded us a picture of a barn owl hanging from a fence.  It was taken September 9 by Mia McPherson, a bird photographer who spends a lot of time on our refuge.

The owl on the fence - used by permission

Bill White, the refuge manage, happened to come by and took the owl  to the Animal Shelter in Dillon, and then  it was relayed to Whitehall, where people from the Raptor Conservation Center, in Bozeman, picked it up. Read Mia's moving story of how she and Ron cut it out of the fence here.

 On September 30, while I was rushing around, trying to fit the last little bit into my car to leave and get the trailer clean, I heard the owl was coming back to the refuge to be released. I spent about an hour in the office waiting for the Raptor Rehab people.

The owl had hardly been hurt.  It only had a couple of holes in its wings that needed to be sutured, but no broken bones.  It flew off strongly during the release.  It set down in the field and then flew further away.  I only caught the first few seconds of its flight.

So, because of the rescue, this owl gets a new chance at life.

Owl being brought out by one of the Raptor Rehab people

They put the crate on the back of a refuge pickup to give the owl a little height
to make its first lift-off easier

Karen wasn't taking pictures, so got to do the actual release

She gingerly opened the crate

Stepped back and waited.... and waited.... and waited

At just after noon, this was not the owl's time to fly

Karen was told to raise the create but still nothing happened

I moved forward to take a closeup

Then the Raptor Rehab guy came up to check on the owl and touched it. It bombed out of the box and few strongly off.

Free again

This was my last adventure in Montana.  I'll be in Texas when this blog comes out, hopefully finding lots of fall birds and visiting friends.

See Wild Bird Wednesday for more blogs on wild birds. Click on the picture.