Great Horned Owl flying free over San Antonio again after rescue

Injured owl in Castle Hills treated by Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation

SAN ANTONIO – A Castle Hills resident discovered a Great Horned Owl that was injured and in need of help about a month ago.

“He had a droopy right wing. So it was a good indication that he was injured on that side of his body,” said Lynn Cuny, founder and president of Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation.

Cuny said a rescue volunteer caught the owl that was brought to the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation sanctuary in Kendalia.

“He couldn’t fly. And any time a bird cannot fly, then, you know, something’s happened,” Cuny said.

Since they are nocturnal hunters, the Great Horned Owl probably landed on a street or roadway to eat its prey, Cuny said. She said she believes it was likely the owl was hit by a vehicle.

“You can imagine the damage that’s done to a bird when a car hits them,” Cuny said.

However, the rescued Great Horned Owl was spared the worst. An X-ray revealed its right wing had been fractured.

“Our veterinarian put him in a good body wrap, which stabilizes the wing, keeps it from drooping, keeps it from further damage being done to the wing,” Cuny said.

After the wrap was taken off about a week later, the wing was in good condition, she said.

Cuny said the owl was then put in one of the sanctuary’s flight aviaries.

That way, she said, “He could regain muscle tone and regain good body strength so that he could fly.”

Monday was the big day. The Great Horned Owl was returned to familiar territory for its release.

“You always like to get an animal back to the area they came from. That’s their home base,” Cuny said.

She said the bird is now close to its family of other owls and food sources that it knows.

But instead of the neighborhood where it was found, Cuny said WRR released it in a park that’s nearby, where it immediately flew up into one of the trees. Its prognosis, she said, is good, given the relatively short time, it took for the owl to heal.

“It’s very, very easy to injure a wild animal at nighttime if you’re not paying attention,” Cuny said. “Drive slowly. Watch your surroundings. Know that you are not the only person out there. You are not the only species out there.”

About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.