Great Horned Owl Release
By: Scott Rashid, Director of CARRI
This past Tuesday, Grant Spencer president of CARRI and I went down to the Birds of Prey Foundation (BOP) in Broomfield to pick up Sutton the Great Horned Owl that many of you read about a few months ago.
As you may remember, Sutton was found lethargic and unresponsive near a home on Sutton Avenue (hence his name). I fed him small bits of food for three days and nights before he could and would eat on his own. After three weeks of feeding and resting, I took him to the BOP so he could exercise by strengthen his wings by flying in a large flight cage, complete with over a dozen others of his kind.
Grant and I left for Broomfield early in the afternoon to pick up Sutton. This way we could return to Estes Park just at dark. When I release a nocturnal bird such as a Great Horned Owl, I like to release it just after dark, so he/she has all evening to move throughout the area and find a safe place to roost during the following day.
At about 8:30 p.m., that evening, we arrived at my house as I took Sutton out of the pet carrier, which he had been in during his ride back to Estes Park. I allowed Grant to release Sutton by simply placing Sutton on the sidewall of bed of my pickup.
After Grant placed Sutton on the edge of the truck bed, he spent several minutes looking around the neighborhood, I presume to try and get his bearings again. He remained on the edge of the truck for several minutes, before flying, a short distance to the neighbors Ponderosa Pine where he sat for a bit longer then flew off into the darkness. I did place an aluminum Fish and Wildlife Service aluminum numbered leg band on Sutton so if he is recaptured again we will learn about his movements.
I would like to thank all of you who donated to help feed Sutton. Your donations were, and always are greatly appreciated.
CARRI, Colorado Avian Research and Rehabilitation Institute, P.O. Box 3351, Estes Park, CO 80517.