Snowy owl rescued, released

A snowy owl was rescued by two trappers from the Dryden area and successfully released back into the wild.
Barry Fedorchuk and his brother, Syl, had rescued the owl in a field off Wabigoon Lake Road, northwest of Dryden, on Dec. 20.
The men had seen a flock of ravens surrounding what they thought was an animal carcass. But on closer observation, they realized about 25 ravens were harassing a snowy owl.
They went into the field, chased the ravens away, and Barry captured the bird by throwing a jacket over it.
They brought the bird to the Ministry of Natural Resources district office in Dryden, where staff recognized the owl was in a stressed and dazed condition.
After some difficulty getting the owl to release its grip on the jacket, it was put in a cage where it recovered quite quickly. A short time later, the owl was deemed to be healthy enough to be released back into the wild.
This is the fourth snowy owl that has been reported to the district office.
“The Fedorchuks did the right thing by bringing the owl to us,” said Ray Schott, area biologist for the Ministry of Natural Resources’ Dryden District.
“Owls found on the ground should be reported to the ministry as soon as possible because they may be in weakened state and might not last long,” he added.
However, the ministry also would like to remind the public that the best approach is always to a leave an animal alone unless you are sure it has been abandoned or injured.
To determine if young wildlife is truly injured or sick:
•Check the animal periodically for 24-48 hours to see if it is still there, but keep your distance;
•Keep the area quiet and free of cats and dogs; and
•Observe the animal to see if it is active and feeding.
If you find an injured or sick animal, contact your local MNR office for advice. Under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, a person cannot keep wildlife without approval.
There are exceptions for up to 24 hours to transport sick or injured wildlife to a custodian or to transport a nuisance animal for release. Otherwise, it is an offence to keep a wild animal.
It could endanger you and your family by exposing you to diseases such as rabies.
If you must handle wildlife, always wear appropriate protective equipment to avoid injuries and the potential transfer of diseases.