Rare Barn Owl found in Coopersville

7:34 PM, Jun 8, 2012   |    comments
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Barn Owl

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)- An owl thought to be extinct in Michigan, is recovering after being found sick inside a Coopersville barn.

It's currently being held at Blandford Nature Center, where the staff often receives abandoned, sick, or injured birds.

Samantha Smith says, "When we first got the call, I took it and I was doubtful it was a barn owl because Blandford's never seen one before." Smith says they're often confused with the barred owl, which are common in Michigan. The barn owl is not. "The last sighting of a breeding pair was in 1983. And it wasn't even in West Michigan."

The bird was initially treated for pesticide poisoning and it did well for a few weeks. But, Wednesday, he got sick again. "I heard him gurgling in his throat and I thought he was throwing up his food, but it was blood. I took him back to the vet and she confirmed it was Rodenticide. Rat poisoning."

The barn owl is being treated with vitamin K and he so far, he seems to be doing better. If all goes well, the rare bird will be released back into the wild, near the place where he was found in Coopersville.

The Blandford Nature Center relies on public donations. For a minimum of $25, you can adopt one of the birds and help with the cost of its rehabilitation. For more information you can call (616) 735-6240 ext. 15. Or you can e-mail sam@blandfordnaturecenter.org

By Sarah Sell

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