Jeanie Campbell can still remember those huge yellow eyes staring back at her.
The Coldstream resident’s husband, Jeff, had been out in their apple orchard on Buchanan Road during daylight hours in early July when he encountered a great grey horned owl unable to fly.
“After three days we knew he was in trouble,” said Campbell about the fledging.
Thinking it had fallen out of its nest from one of the pine trees on their property, the Campbells quickly went to task to find a way to help the owl, whom they called Stanley.
Jeanie found the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (OWL) on the Internet and got in touch with the Ladner-based organization.
“They immediately went into action and sent Karen Yuen from Kelowna to help us capture him and arrange for him to be driven to them,” she said.
Operating solely from public donations for the past 37 years, OWL takes in injured and orphaned birds from all over the province.
“OWL has surrogate owls at the centre that teach the rescued birds to hunt and fend for themselves,” said Jeanie. “They also rehabilitate eagles, hawks and other birds of prey.”
Upon graduating from the centre after three months, Stanley was given a chance to expand his wings and fly free for the first time.
Flown by volunteer helicopter to Chilliwack, friends of the Campbells picked Stanley up at the airport and brought him home by car to Coldstream.
He was released at dusk on Sept. 19.
“By the time he came back to us, Stanley was almost full grown at two-feet tall with a five-foot wingspan. It was so cool to help him… when you can help an animal in trouble you feel good about it,” said Jeanie, adding she hopes to see Stanley again in his natural habitat.
“We are totally appreciative to OWL and in awe of the work they do. Any public awareness I can pass their way will not only help them with needed donations, but others who may one day need their help to save a scared, defenceless predator like Stanley.”
For more information on OWL, visit www.owlcanada.ca.