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Adams County Rescues Owl, Granting it a Fresh Start

A barred owl was given a second chance at life following a brief stint at the Sheriff’s Office and a 20-day rehabilitation period.

On January 18, a kind-hearted individual brought an injured barred owl discovered near Kirker Cemetery to the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. The office then reached out to Adams County Wildlife officer, Gus Kiebel, who, unable to respond immediately, contacted Bill Wickerham from Adams County Soil & Water. Wickerham promptly picked up the owl from the Sheriff’s Office and, after contacting Raptor, a bird of prey rehabilitation center in Milford, transported the owl to their facility.

Cindy Alverson, the Executive Director of Raptor, mentioned that the owl had no fractures and suspected it had likely been hit by a vehicle. While the owl was bruised and battered, it was otherwise in good health.

Judging by the owl’s weight, Alverson deduced that it was a female weighing nearly two pounds. Initially, there were concerns about its eyesight, but those worries dissipated as the owl started to recover.

Upon arrival at the facility, the owl was immediately given fluids and started eating independently within a day. After a thorough examination, no dislocations or fractures were detected. Within four days, the owl had regained enough strength to be assessed outdoors and displayed proficient flying skills, initiating flight conditioning for its eventual return to its habitat. The owl was fitted with a USFWS metal band for identification purposes in case of recovery, providing insights into its lifespan and post-release travels.

Alverson expressed gratitude for the owl’s fortunate recovery, attributing its need for recuperation to the impact-related soreness.

After spending 20 days at the Raptor rehabilitation center, the female barred owl was deemed fit for release back into the wild.

With breeding season underway, Alverson emphasized the importance of swiftly returning healthy owls to their native territories.

On February 6, at approximately 5 p.m., Raptor transported the owl to Kirker Cemetery in Liberty Township for its release. After a brief moment of hesitation, the owl swiftly flew out of the cardboard box, perched on a nearby tree, surveyed the surroundings, and then flew off in a southern direction.

When inquired about the owl’s age, Cindy estimated it to be a mature adult, between 2 to 3 years old. Barred owls in the wild can live up to 15 years, succumbing to old age when their hunting abilities decline due to diminishing reflexes, agility, and eyesight.

Raptor, a nonprofit organization specializing in raptor rehabilitation, has been dedicated to nursing injured birds of prey back to health for nearly four decades. They have treated over 200 hawks, owls, falcons, ospreys, and eagles with injuries ranging from collisions with vehicles and windows to entanglement with fishing lines, and occasionally, caring for orphaned and injured young birds that fall from nests.

Raptor will participate in the 19th Annual Adams County Amish Bird Symposium, organized by the Adams County Travel & Visitors Bureau on March 2 at the Wheat Ridge Community Building. They will conduct a presentation on the rehabilitation of birds of prey. Limited seating is available for the event, and registration can be done at

To report an injured bird of prey, contact Raptor at (513) 825-3325. Raptor also hosts open houses open to the public on the last Sunday of each month from March to November, between 1 – 4 p.m., featuring family-friendly activities, interactive biofacts, and facility tours.

Raptor’s address is 961 Barg Salt Run in Milford, Ohio. For more information, visit