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Freedom no flight of fancy

Great horned owl released back into wild

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Hundreds of students watched as a great horned owl was released back into the wild Tuesday, after being tangled up in a soccer net in mid-November.

The male owl was found trapped in the netting behind Shamrock School on Nov. 16, said Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre manager Reesa Atnikov.

The wildlife rehabilitation group cut the owl free, gave it pain medication and a few weeks of rest to heal at their centre.

"It had some soft-tissue damage from its wing being pulled up from the net, but other than it made a wonderful recovery," Atnikov said.

The owl was most likely hunting a rabbit when it was caught in the netting.

And since it was discovered in the soccer fields of Shamrock Park behind the Southdale-area school, that’s where Atnikov decided to release it.

"Whenever we’re dealing with any kind of an adult bird or mammal we want to take them back to the point that they came from."

Students were crowded hundreds of metres away as the box opened. The owl paused for a moment, then flew to the top of a nearby house.

Lauren Douthart, a Grade 4 student, said the owl looked scared when it was first caught in the soccer net, as students crowded around it.

But she was happy to see it released Tuesday.

"It was pretty cool," Douthart said. "... especially when it flew away, the wings were really big."

The Wildlife Haven can be contacted if other animals are found in a similar situation: (204) 878-3740

Here's a link to what to do if you find an injured animal:

http://www.wildlifehaven.ca/helpingwildlife.php

History

Updated on Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 6:58 PM CST: Updates with phone number, website link

8:50 PM: Fixes student year

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