Friday, February 4, 2011

Great Horned Owl from Wausau is Released!

The day of release is a very exciting day for all of us here at REGI and it is what keeps us going through hard times. Thursday evening, a beautiful adult female Great Horned Owl was returned to the wild after a harrowing experience. Hopefully her stay at REGI becomes a distant memory and may she never be in the hands of humans again!

This Great Horned Owl was admitted at the end of December suffering from wounds consistent with shotgun pellets. She had a protuberance at one of her wing joints that turned out to be a supersized blood blister. The wonderful people from The King Company in Wausau spotted her in the ditch, scooped her up, and brought her to safety. A big thanks to Bud Graveen, Cory Pagel, Jon Krause, and Anne Buntrock from The King Company for helping this beautiful owl! Anne lovingly named the owl "Jerri" in honor of her father and that's how she was known during her short stay at REGI.

Photo above: The adult female Great Horned Owl, Jerri, upon admission. (Photo credit: Marge Gibson)

Photo above: Here you can see that large blood blister protruding from her wing joint. (The grey bump just in front of the index finger is the blood blister). Her gunshot wounds were a few days old when she was found which is why there is no blood in these photos. (Photo credit: Marge Gibson)

Photo above: My apologies for the blurry picture, but it shows the Great Horned Owl exercising her healing wing. By the way she flies, you would never know she had been shot. I am constantly amazed by what birds can overcome.

Photo above: Alberta Halfmann, REGI’s avian rehabilitation technician, extends the owl’s once-injured wing to show how the wounds have healed. (Photo credit: Gene Popp)

Photo above: Anne Buntrock, one of the owl’s rescuers, and Alberta Halfmann pose for a good bye photo. (Photo credit: Gene Popp)

Photo above: Just moments before release. You can see the anticipation in Alberta’s and the owl’s expressions. (Photo credit: Gene Popp)

Photo above: If you look closely you can see the owl, Jerri, back in the wild. She is the dark spot in the center of the photograph. Good luck, friend! Being that owls are mainly nocturnal, they are released just after sunset. (Photo credit: Gene Popp)

It is, of course, illegal to shoot any raptor and the reasons to do so are beyond me. Raptors provide us all a great service by keeping rodent populations in check and are very beneficial to healthy ecosystems. If you’re like me, you love rodents as much as much as any animal, but an over abundance of the little critters is no good for anyone, including the rodents themselves. By preventing rodent over population, raptors make sure that everything remains in balance.

Thanks again to everyone at The King Company! We all love a happy ending!

We currently have 20 Bald Eagles in our care so all of the fish donations are still very helpful! There are only a few more weeks of ice fishing according to our groundhog friend’s predictions so get out there and have some fun. Don’t forget that our hungry eagles will take the extra catches off your hands!

Thanks everyone!

Karissa Mohr
REGI Wildlife Educator

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