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West Virginia Raptor Rehabilitation Center Nicole Gerard brings the recovered barred owl out to a four-acre field near where he was rescued in late June. / Photo courtesy Sean Lyons

Owl injured on Brushy Fork Road returns to Upshur for release after rehabilitation

BUCKHANNON – The injured barred owl that was rescued on the Brushy Fork Road in June was just released July 23 – almost exactly a month later – after recovering from a concussion.

The owl was rescued by the West Virginia Raptor Rehabilitation Center June 24 when Sean Lyons found the owl in the parking lot of Straight Up Used Auto on Brushy Fork Road. Lyons is the owner of the auto business.

Volunteer with the Raptor Rehabilitation Center Nicole Gerard said the barred owl suffered from a concussion after most likely getting hit by a vehicle.

“He healed up perfectly,” Gerard told My Buckhannon this week. “He just had a really bad concussion, and he was a little dehydrated, so we made sure he got enough electrolytes and nutrients in his body and then after a day, he was actually able to eat fine on his own.”

Gerard said the concussion had detrimentally impacted the owl’s eyesight.

“He had a really hard time seeing where his food was at first because he had a bad concussion, but after the concussion started getting better, we tested his eyes to make sure that they were responsive, and about a week-and-a-half before we released him, his eyes were back to normal,” she explained.

Lyons said he appreciated the center’s work and all the volunteers there who offer their time.

“Everyone there is a volunteer — they get paid nothing, and I like what they do, and I just love the fact that somebody [cares],” Lyons said.

“I commended her for what they did,” he added. “You couldn’t tell that he hurt his eye, and his feathers were just as healthy as ever, and when he took off, it was great.”

Gerard said the center always tries to release recovered birds in the place they were found.

The barred owl that was rescued on Brushy Fork Road last month prepares to be released back into the wild near where he was found with a concussion. / Photo courtesy Sean Lyons

“We always try to release all of our birds that we find, actually, in the original spot unless they were shot,” Gerard said. “It’s just like a human being: If you would go and drop them off somewhere random, they would be lost and not know where they are. This way, they are most likely going to be able to live and survive, but we always take the extra time to make sure that they go back to where they came from, or a familiar area.”

Lyons said they released the owl behind the lot, where there is a four-acre field, to make sure the owl didn’t hit any branches or get hit by another car.

“He sat up on the tree for a couple hours before he actually took off, and it was funny because he landed in that tree which was full of birds. Our next-door our neighbor has a big older green barn and it’s filled with barn swallows,” Lyons said. “When that owl hit (landed on) the tree, the birds just scattered.”

Lyons said he was happy to have the owl back in familiar territory.

“I’m just glad that he’s nice, healthy and safe and now he can eat all the mice around our lot,” Lyons said. “It felt absolutely great, and I hope he learned his lesson and stays away from cars.”

Gerard said the best part about the center is that it is run by volunteers.

“What’s awesome about our center is we are all volunteers, from our director all the way down, so every amount of money that is donated to us goes toward taking care of the birds,” she said.

The center is on Facebook where people can see updates on the birds the center has rescued and their email is raptor@wvrrc.org if anyone wants to ask for a tour of their facilities.

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