Ornithology isn't in their job description, but there's a lucky barred owl in Rochester flying free again because some staff at Mayo Clinic's Superior Drive Support Center spotted it and came to its rescue. April Josselyn, a marketing associate at Superior Drive Support Center, tells us that in early November, folks arriving for work noticed the injured owl on the north side of the building. "It was obvious that it was hurt," she says. "There were crows circling above it."
Josselyn says several staff members, including Michael Hutchison and Dan Sawyer, jumped into action. Sawyer, who admits to having a special "admiration for birds of prey," called his family veterinarian for guidance. "The owl was clearly in duress," he says. "So I called my vet, and she told me what to do." And what not to do.
Sawyer called Quarry Hill Nature Center in Rochester and stayed with the owl while Hutchison searched for a cardboard box the two placed over the owl "to keep it warm and safe" until staff from Quarry Hill could arrive. As it turns out, their quick action helped save the owl's life. "With its injuries, Quarry Hill said there was a certain timeframe in which the owl needed to be treated, otherwise it would have had to have been euthanized," Josseyln says.
Instead, the owl was taken to Quarry Hill and ultimately transported to the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota for additional care and treatment. Josselyn says staff at the Raptor Center kept her and others at Superior Drive updated on the owl's condition. Their best guess, she says, is that the owl injured itself by flying into a window, causing internal injuries as well as partial blindness in one eye.
Fortunately, the owl has made "a full recovery," Josselyn happily reports. And after being nursed back to health, it was released "about a mile down the road" from Superior Drive Support Center on Friday, Dec. 11. Sawyer tells us he couldn't be happier to see his feathered friend return home. "It warmed my heart," he says, "to see his pictures on the day of his return to nature."
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