SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — A woman dedicated to rehabbing sick, injured, or orphaned animals has taken on two injured owls from around the Siouxland area.
A Communications Specialist for Storm Lake State Radio was on her way to work on Friday when she saw an owl get struck by a vehicle according to a post from the Iowa State Patrol (ISP) Facebook page.
The woman wrapped the Owl in her coat and placed it in a box until they could locate someone who could care for it, they were referred to Licensed Wildlife Rehabber Amanda Johnson of Sioux City.
Johnson met an ISP Trooper halfway before bringing it to her home where she could administer medication and allow time for it to recover.
“So, the condition of the owl was pretty critical when he came in, he had been struck by a vehicle,” said Johnson, “So it was pretty urgent that we were able to get him to me as soon as possible so that we could get him some medicine and the Iowa State Patrol really did help tremendously with that. He was very concussed, very out of it, and they just need some time to recover and heal and he is doing good today.”
Johnson said the quick actions of the Communications Specialist and the careful transport of the owl by the ISP Trooper had a significant impact on the survival of the owl.
The owl was identified to be a Screech Owl, which can weigh up to half a pound and can live up to 14 years in the wild, according to Johnson. She said they are native to Iowa, so they don’t migrate and usually stay within 14 acres of their nest.
On Wednesday, Johnson received a call for another injured owl at a residence. She said it was common to get calls for injured animals following severe weather such as the recent wind advisories around the Siouxland area.
Upon arriving at the residence, Johnson evaluated the condition of the owl and was able to determine that the owl had a concussion. She was able to conclude that both owls were Screech owls.
Johnson said when the owls have had enough time to recover their care will be transferred to Saving Our Avian Resources (SOAR), who will be able to assist the owls in learning to live in the wild on their own again.
“They take them and put them into flight pens, and they learn to get kind of back on their feet, and then SOAR will release them in a safe spot,” said Johnson.
Johnson said she is licensed through the state and works with Forever Wild to pick up animals in need of care, and all the work she does is completely volunteer. She covers the cost of what the animals might need, including medication, up until they are able to be transferred or released. She said she works with hundreds of animals a year and can range from bunnies, hawks, and squirrels in the warm months to owls, raccoons, and foxes in the cold months.
Johnson also said that despite the owl’s cute appearance, they are not meant to be domesticated and can cause injury if anyone attempts to handle them.
“So, these little guys are not considered pets, they are, you know, brought in to be rehabbed and released back into the wild as soon as possible. So, we don’t typically handle them or show-and-tell too much because we’d like to get them, you know, not human friendly, we want to get him back out into the environment – their environment – as soon as possible.”
To learn more about Iowa’s wildlife visit the Iowa DNR (Department of Natural Resources) website.
To report sick, injured, or orphaned wildlife in Siouxland call the Iowa DNR at 515-725-8200 or your local law enforcement.