Monday, October 31, 2011

Owl Release!

GOOD NEWS! Out of the blue I received a call from my friend Audrey, to tell me that the injured Barred Owl that we delivered to the Owl Foundation Rehabilitation Centre in Niagara Falls last February was recovered and fit for release. The past news about this owl was that it had a permanent vision impairment and was unreleasable. They monitored and reassessed it and determined the vision was fine. I was ecstatic to hear this young owl would have a chance at life in the wild!

Another trip in a cardboard box

On Saturday October 29, two volunteers transported the owl from Niagara to Port Hope in a cardboard box, where it was picked up by Emily, the young woman who had initially found the injured owl in a field near her home in the country. Audrey and I, and some members of Emily’s family joined her at the site where she found the owl. The idea is to release it where it was found since it will know the territory and find food and shelter easily and it might even have a mate around the area.
The location was good, a hay field adjacent to a wooded hill with a marsh and pond at the base of the hill. The whole area is rolling hills with open fields and woodlots with mixed deciduous and fir trees.
The box was positioned not too close to the tree line, to allow the owl to gain height when flying out. It was feisty and trying to get out of the box before it was opened. Once the lid was off, it hesitated looking at us in confusion for a second before exploding out of the box in a flurry of feathers.
 It flew effortlessly over the field and into the woods, disappearing from site within seconds. Immediately, a flock of Blue Jays could be heard harassing the poor owl. A predator in their midst! Soon the jays moved a bit further away until only one was still calling. We assumed the owl must have moved off deeper into the woods to get away from the mob.

Free at last

It was cloudy and cool with the odd drizzle but this week calls for warmer and sunnier weather so hopefully the owl will get his bearings back, resume hunting successfully and find some good roosts before winter settles in. Ultimately it might find a mate and be nesting come February and rear future generations of owls. All we can do is hope.
Even though owls face many challenges, this one has a chance at life again, the journey so far has been bumpy but for now it continues on a good path and for that I am grateful.

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing story with a happy ending! You are lucky to have been part of it. Reading your post, I could hear the Blue Jays! The photos are excellent. They really capture the moment.