Celebrating the wildlife releases of the PAWS Wildlife Center
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by Kevin Mack, PAWS Wildlife Naturalist
At dusk on February 19th, a large animal carrier with a closed door sat on an 85+ acre piece of property at the north end of Whidbey Island. The carrier was in a small clearing bordered by mixed forest, including marshy areas with abundant alders, and many tall fir trees. Inside the carrier sat a Barred Owl, looking out at the landscape before him, and waiting patiently for the door to be opened. The owl had no way of knowing it, but the beautiful habitat that he was seeing beyond the cage door was at one time in danger of being lost forever. He also had no way of knowing that Donna and Dennis Painter, the two people responsible for the continued existence of the habitat, were standing nearby to watch him accept their gift.
Barred Owl 03-4548 stretches his wings in a large outdoor flight pen.
The owl's leg was splinted, and he was placed in a small indoor cage to limit his movement. By January 5th, the fracture site was stable, and the leg splint was removed. The leg was still very sore, and the owl was reluctant to bear weight on it, but his prospects for a full recovery were excellent.
The owl's condition steadily improved during his stay at PAWS until he regained full use of his formerly broken leg.
When I began thinking about a release site for Barred Owl 03-4548, all I knew was that he had come from Whidbey Island. Whidbey Island is over 50 miles long, so the odds of my guessing the location in which he was found were only slightly better than my odds of winning the Megamillions lottery. The best I could do was to choose a site that I knew had excellent habitat in which he could get a good start. Donna and Dennis Painter's property came to mind immediately.
Perfectly camouflaged, Barred Owl 03-4548 sits in an alder tree immediately after his release.
After giving the owl ample time to adjust to the sights and sounds of his surroundings, I approached the carrier to remove the final barrier to his freedom. Upon reaching the carrier, I heard the owl's talons hit the door in an apparent demonstration of his displeasure with the delay.
The owl flies across the clearing, headed for another alder on the opposite side.
Thank you, Donna and Dennis, for your incredible gift to wildlife. In a time when so much of the news we hear regarding wildlife is negative, your actions have given us an excellent example of how we as individuals can make a difference, and help to stem the tide of habitat destruction. I am truly inspired by you. Gala Evening Benefit for the Animals at PAWS
PAWS Presents Roger Fouts 7:00 pm, Thursday, March 18th at the Renaissance Madison Hotel in downtown Seattle.
Roger is a professor of psychology at Central Washington University and Co-Director of the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute. He has been a part of Project Washoe since 1967. Washoe was the very first nonhuman animal to acquire a human language, American Sign Language for the Deaf (ASL).
Enjoy a gourmet animal-friendly dinner, live auction and inspiring presentation! Click here to learn more.
$95 Individual - Admittance for one to Roger Fouts presentation, auction and dinner
$150 Select Individual - Admittance for one to all of the above, plus pre-event reception to meet Roger Fouts at 6:00 pm
Tickets can be purchased online or call PAWS Development Office 425.787.2500 x261 or x262.
Wildlife Release tally: January 28th to February 17th, 2003
Wildlife Release tally: 2004
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