Letters to the Editor

Owl saved, please be careful of vulnerable animals | Letter

Letters to the editor - Reporter file art
Letters to the editor
— image credit: Reporter file art

I would like to share a neighborly note, especially for those who live near or drive 108th Avenue on their morning commute. On the morning of May 21, a Barred Owl was found sitting on the curb across from Emerson High School. The owl was clearly injured. Fortunately, an alert cyclist had noticed it and stopped to tell Kirkland Parks employee Carol Berkey, who was working at Watershed Park, that there was a dead eagle along the road. Meanwhile, my partner Nora decided to run an errand and returned to insist I come immediately to check on an owl she had noticed on the sidewalk.
By the time we got there, Carol had already responded and positioned her vehicle on the curb to the north of the owl with flashers alerting drivers to slow down, which they did. Together we put together a plan and contacted Sarvey Wildlife Care Center to get advice about how to best secure and transport the injured bird to their center where it had the best chance of getting care.
We had been able to see, as the owl swiveled its head to look at us, that its right eye was obviously injured. We had no idea what other injuries it might have.
Between the three of us, we were able to get the owl into a large box to drive it to the center near Arlington. When we lifted the box to hand it over to the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center, the owl stood up and attempted to lift his wings, so I hoped that it might be able to recover from its injuries.
The next week we learned in a message from Sarvey WCC that the Barred Owl was recovering slowly and although needing to be fed by hand, was eating and making progress. We also learned that even with only one eye, owls have been successfully returned to the wild after demonstrating being able to hunt.
The care that Sarvey Wildlife Care Center provides to our injured animal neighbors is not free. They say it costs an average of $158 to rehabilitate each animal brought to them for care. If anyone thinks they may have hit an owl, or saw the injured bird that morning and wished there were something they could do to help it, there is. Please consider making a donation to the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center. Besides rehabilitating injured wild animals, they provide educational programs to schools and other places about these neighbors we seldom have a chance to see.
Also, please drive carefully and watch out for animals who may not know to look out for cars. Owls are frequently vulnerable to being hit as they fly low and silently in search of prey in the early hours of the day. We are fortunate in Kirkland to still have habitat to support wild birds such as this owl. Thank you to everyone who took the time to make a difference and save the life of this one.
Lora Hein, Kirkland

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