Thanks to the efforts of an Alexandria veterinarian and a DNR officer, there is one owl that is probably as happy as an owl can be to still be alive and free.
The injured barred owl was found by DNR Conservation Officer Jeff Johanson at the intersection of County Roads 3 and 73, north of Osakis, about two weeks ago. Johanson brought the owl to Bill Kraker, a doctor of veterinary medicine and the owner of Animal Doctor in Alexandria, who cared for it until its release this past Friday.
According to Kraker, the young owl had severe head tilt when it was brought in, as well as unequal pupils with one eye closed.
“That usually indicates head trauma,” he said.
Although it is uncertain what caused the injury, it was more than likely hit by a car, he explained.
After being given medication to reduce inflammation in its head and being given plenty of fluids, the owl was soon on its way to recovery. Recently Kraker also did a test flight to see if it could fly.
“He did very well,” he said.
So, on Friday, Kraker brought the owl to a location near where it had been found, and released it. The bird quickly flew away and landed in a nearby tree in a location near a swamp where it should have a good chance of surviving.
“That’s the unfortunate thing,” he noted. “You never know how they’ll do afterward. Mother nature will take over from this point.”
Kraker stressed that although he has helped provide care to a few wild animals in the past, such as deer or eagles, it has to be initiated by the DNR and not by the general public.
“The public has to contact the DNR first,” he added.