Archive for May 13, 2009

Into the wild…

Posted in Uncategorized on May 13, 2009 by Dawn

Part I – The release.

Monday evening before my rehab session at the MRP, I had the privilege of witnessing the “armpit biter” great horned owl (GHOW) being released back into the wild.   This particular GHOW had been with us for several months, so I’m sure she was ready to get back to her wild home.  

The release took place at the Iowa City home of the woman who found her and reported her injury to MRP staff.  The plan was to release the owl in her backyard, but when we arrived on site we knew it wasn’t the best place to let her go because…


…this family of ducks was swimming around in the pond, and none of us wanted to see one of the ducklings become the owl’s dinner.

To avoid a confrontation with the ducks, we ended up taking the owl about a block away where Nikki, one of the other rehabbers, placed her in a pine tree.   Though I AM going to miss working with her, hopefully we will not see her again and she will thrive among the other wild creatures.  Here she is in her pine tree:

 I’m quite sure this was the most exciting thing to ever happen in this neighborhood.

View my Flickr set for all the photos from the release.


 Part II – A misty-eyed rehab.

Monday was my final rehab session with the red tailed hawk (RTHA) in the flight cage.  The director of the MRP called me on Friday to see if I would be interested in coordinating his release, and of course I was all over it. 

His flying had improved so much in the last couple of weeks.  He had excellent speed and control, and to watch him glide to his perch is like watching a dream.  He was obviously ready to go.  I just kept watching him fly back and forth above me, and relished one of the last chances I would have to enjoy sharing such a small corner of the world with such a fantastic bird.

Watching him, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit like a parent whose child was graduating from college.  But I think this is much, much cooler.

Here he is, mere days away from being sent back into the wild.

And so, being the huge dork that I am, I let my eyes tear up a little bit. I was so proud of the bird, but also proud of myself for accomplishing what I have so far.

The release took place on Saturday, May 16th at 10am at the Macbride Raptor Project. 

I will miss working with this hawk, but he needs to be free.  And I am looking forward to giving him that freedom.