A wild owl is back home thanks to an alert Post Falls woman and a local nonprofit.
On Friday afternoon, the young barred owl was released in the Highlands neighborhood after being rehabilitated by Birds of Prey Northwest.
“I was so excited that the bird is going to be released,” said Laura Sable, who witnessed the homecoming at a field off of North Glasgow Drive.
After being let go by Birds of Prey, the owl quickly flew to a nearby tree and perched for several minutes.
The owl’s return to the wild was weeks in the making. On an early morning in November, Sable was leaving her home when she heard a strange sound in her car.
“I was going down the hill, and something hit my right-front fender,” she said. “I noticed there was a bird on the side of the road.”
Sable quickly exited her car to help.
“When I first looked at the bird, one of its eyes were closed. It didn’t look good. It wasn’t moving.”
Based on previous educational events with her children and grandchildren, Sable knew to not touch the owl directly. After looking at the injured bird from the distance, she carefully wrapped a blanket around the owl and took it to authorities.
From there, Sable was put in touch with Birds of Prey. The nonprofit, which is based near St. Maries, specializes in rehabilitating raptor birds. The group also hosts educational events surrounding some birds in captivity.
“I like giving them the medical attention they need so they can be returned to the wild and have a second chance,” said Janie Veltkamp with Birds of Prey.
The owl that Sable brought to them was injured to the point that it wasn’t able to fly and hunt for prey.
“He’s healed up nicely. [It] had some internal injuries,” she said.
Veltkamp said that the case was a typical one for Birds of Prey. The group often coordinates with Idaho Fish and Game for the rehabilitation and release of injured birds. Birds of Prey NW says it receives no government funding, however, and depends on volunteers, donations, and grants.
Sable, an avid outdoors woman herself, said she was relieved the bird was back in the world.
“We’re in their home,” she said. “I try hard to not trample on their home.”