A ‘Holly’-day Rescue Owl
When it comes to the holidays, Deb Flaherty doesn’t give a hoot.
That’s Holly’s job.
Holly, a screech owl, came into Flaherty’s life a few weeks back, after an unfortunate collision with the area resident’s pickup truck.
“I turned my truck around with flashers on, as oncoming cars were headed toward us,” Flaherty said.
She quickly grabbed a pair of work gloves and approached the injured bird.
“It was lying on its back, with wings spread out and legs in the air,” Flaherty said. “When I picked it up, I saw it was an owl. The body was limp and the eyes closed shut, but when I lifted it upright, one eye popped open.”
Flaherty rushed the bird to the Animal Emergency and Pet Care Clinic of the High Country, where it was examined and treated with steroids to decrease brain swelling. From there, it was brought to Genesis Wildlife Sanctuary ( http://www.genesis-wildlife.org) in Beech Mountain, where it began rehabilitation.
“When I called to follow up on the owl, the president of the wildlife sanctuary reported that the female screech owl was very ‘dull’ and would not eat or act appropriately wild,” Flaherty said.
Sanctuary staff members were concerned that the bird would not be fit to return to life in the wild, Flaherty said, adding, “I prayed for a Christmas miracle for the little owl.”
Two weeks later, however, her prayers were answered. Flaherty received a call from Genesis, informing her the owl had recovered, was eating on her own and was ready to be released back into the wild.
“So, the little screech owl was returned to her habitat on Sunday evening, Dec. 22, and before she flew away, she allowed us to take a few pictures of her,” Flaherty said.
Flaherty’s neighbor, Betty Adams, and Adams’ grandchildren, Josef and Karli, posed for some photos with the bird and named her Holly, “in honor of our Christmas miracle,” Flaherty said.
“What a wonderful, teachable moment for the kids and for all of us,” she said. “Holly lingered on a tree branch nearby, while we took a few more pictures, looking at us. Then, as we went back inside, she flew off gracefully into the woods, maybe to find her mate for a special holiday reunion.”
Flaherty said she was glad to be part of Holly’s miracle. “With the help of others, miracles happen all the time,” she said.