Whooo rescued an owl in Manistee County? – Manistee News Advocate

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Matt Loker (left) and Travis Kaiser help an injured barred owl that was discovered along the side of M-55 on Nov. 14. 
An injured barred owl, nicknamed Stinkerton by its rescuers in Manistee County, was taken to the North Sky Raptor Sanctuary on Nov. 14 for rehabilitation. 
Stinkerton the owl is swaddled in preparation for a trip to a bird rehabilitation center in Grand Traverse County. 
Chelsea Cooper and Matt Loker helped rescue a barred owl that had been injured in what was likely an automobile accident on Nov. 14.
Matt Loker (middle) and his dad Doug and brother Chris pose with a bird they helped rescue near Brethren.
BRETHREN — A barred owl that was found clinging to life along M-55 earlier this week is recuperating. 
The owl, nicknamed “Stinkerton” by its rescuers, was discovered Monday around 8 a.m., close to a deer camp in Manistee County.
Stinkerton has been sent to the nonprofit North Sky Raptor Sanctuary in Interlochen for rehabilitation.
The bird’s injuries were “consistent with a car collision,” according to Kaitlyn Bohnet executive director and co-founder of the raptor sanctuary.
“His injuries consist of a severe concussion and moderate ocular trauma,” Bohnet told the News Advocate. 
The bird is now on a “regimented recovery program” according to Bohnet, which includes anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce swelling, pain management, fluid therapy, vitamin supplements and medicated eye drops.
“As he is not self-feeding yet, he gets tube fed three times daily with a specially formulated diet for easy digestion,” Bohnet said.
While the bird’s prognosis is “still guarded” Bohnet said she is hopeful that “the otherwise healthy male barred owl will return to the night sky.”
“The little guy is hanging in there,” she said.
The bird’s rescue was due to the efforts of local and regional conservation workers and the quick thinking of several hunting party members who first discovered the bird.
Travis Kaiser, a friend of the hunting group, was among the first to handle the bird.
“(Kaiser) and his wife are woodland owl lovers and they knew they had to pause their trip to help,” said Chelsea Cooper with the Manistee Conservation District. “They pulled over to the side of M-55 in a snow squall to save her from the side of the road and then cared for her at their camp for the next few hours.”
Cooper was called in by other conservation professionals and transported the bird to the Grand Traverse Conservation District where it was then taken to North Sky Raptor Rescue.
Cooper said she was contacted by Sam Wolfe, executive director of the Sleeping Bear Wildlife Fund and fellow Michigan conservation district employee and put in touch with some members of the hunting party — Matt, Doug and Chris Loker.
“They didn’t have anything to put the owl in so I cozied up a cardboard box we had at the office with some soft materials and brought that with me. We worked as a team to settle the owl into the box, (he) was in and out of consciousness but sat up on (his) own a few times,” Cooper said.
Despite some moments of awareness, Cooper said that she and hunting party members weren’t sure if the bird would make it.
“Matt Loker and his family were so compassionate when handling the bird and were so grateful that there were people around to help,” Cooper said, adding “my office was happy to allow me to go and help this beautiful animal during my work day and it all worked out so well between all of the different individuals involved — the collaboration was flawless.”
Barred owls live in mature forests made up of both deciduous trees and evergreens and often near water, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. These large, mottled owls roost during the day, nest in tree cavities and hunt small animals, particularly rodents after dark, according to the Cornell Lab’s website, allaboutbirds.com.
Car collisions with owls are common, according to Bohnet, who has taken in another injured barred owl with a “moderate concussion and a cracked beak,” since Stinkerton came into her care.
She encourages motorists to stay alert and monitor the shoulder of the road for these birds. If someone does find an owl or other injured animal, she recommends reaching out to licensed wildlife rehabilitators.
A list of licensed rehabilitators is available through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources at www2.dnr.state.mi.us/dlr/. This list is organized by county to easily locate the closest licensed rehabilitator in case of emergency.
“Each emergency situation is different, and depending on the species, there might be different regulations regarding safety, collection, transport … so it is best to chat with a specialist who can appropriately provide instructions or direct your next steps to get this animal the medical attention he/she needs,” Bohnet said.
I grew up in Genesee County and received a Bachelor of Arts from U of M. I am a hobbyist fish keeper who enjoys stargazing and bird watching.