- Associated Press - Sunday, February 19, 2017

PEMBROKE, Ky. (AP) - A Pembroke Elementary School teacher said she was tickled to have him home on her farm.

Nancy DeCoursey was talking about Owen, an owl that her family saved recently. DeCoursey’s daughter, Rachel, said a bird got tangled up on the evening of Jan. 23 on her way home from work. She and her father, Ray, went to investigate and found an owl caught on barbed wire.

“He was wrapped up in there good,” Ray DeCoursey said, adding he has a real soft spot for birds of prey.

DeCoursey set about freeing the owl. He cut the wings loose on either side and covered the creature with a blanket to help him calm down.

DeCoursey called a non-emergency line for the Emergency Communications Center, but they had no suggestions on where to take the owl.

In the meantime, Nancy DeCoursey posted on Facebook she needed a place to take the injured bird. That’s when she was told about the Nurture to Nature Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

The DeCourseys finally found someone to help with the owl, and her name was Kristin Allen. She volunteered to meet them halfway, but the DeCourseys decided to go all the way to Owensboro, with the owl sitting in a special box Ray DeCoursey made.

Allen said it was good that DeCoursey cut the bird loose the way he did. If DeCoursey had tried to pull the wire off of the owl’s wings, he could have injured the bird more. Rather, DeCoursey cut the wire on either side of the wing. When Allen got him, she did the last of the work and found the bird only had a small hole in his wing.

He eventually healed, retaining his wild side so he can be released back into the wild. Then the big day came for Allen to let him go Feb. 14.

But before she did that, it was decided that the owl, which was named Owen, should be brought to Pembroke Elementary School, where Nancy DeCoursey works as a teacher, to teach a lesson to some of the students.

Allen told the students that as a wildlife rehabilitator, she’s been called a hero. She says otherwise.

“Let me just tell you something. Your fabulous teacher that called me and told me she had an injured owl is really the hero in this whole thing,” Allen said, explaining that she needs people that care enough to make the call, so she can go help the injured animals.

Along with Owen, two other owls came to teach the students about wildlife, however, those birds were tamed. Allen told the children that one owl, a small screech owl did its hunting earlier than other owls do. The other one, a barred owl, did most of its hunting at night.

Owen is a horned owl. Allen explained that tufts of feather will pop up for him to show whose boss, along with hissing.

She also gave the children something to keep in mind with regard to the owl’s main prey, mice.

“It’s very important that when we’re controlling the rodent population in our home that we use snap traps,” Allen said. That’s because using the rat poison on the little critters will also poison the birds of prey further up the food chain.

A short time after the presentation, Allen released Owen back to his home on the DeCoursey farm, where he possibly has a sweetheart waiting for him.

Nancy DeCoursey was smiling as she filmed him flying off to a tree branch.

Ray DeCoursey will be happy to hear the owls chirping again, which was what he enjoys hearing at night.

___

Information from: Kentucky New Era, https://www.kentuckynewera.com


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