Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Hoot's been set free? A once-trapped owl

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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 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 that it made a wonderful recovery," Atnikov said.

The owl was most likely hunting a rabbit when it was caught. 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."

If you find a wild bird or animal in distress, contact the wildlife haven at 204-878-3740.

-- Melissa Tait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 5, 2012 A5

History

Updated on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 10:17 AM CST: adds missing word

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