Monday, November 26, 2007

Hard-line Cuban exiles claim owl is a Castro agent


KTIV

Rare Owl Rehab

A rare Antillean short-eared owl is back in the Florida wild after two months in rehab.


The bird had been found with a broken pelvis.

"When we see these guys, it is a very special event because we believe we are documenting the expansion of a subspecies of a particular owl from the Caribbean to the mainland as it comes to Florida," scientist Sharron Montgomery said.

Three injured short-eared owls have been through the center in the last two years.

The most recent was likely caught up in a storm in Cuba and blown to Florida, experts said.

"We have seen more and more getting to Miami," Montgomery said. "Maybe they moved through during wind currents and migration patterns."

The officer who found the owl is a bird expert and had worked at the museum wildlife center, so he knew exactly what it was and quickly diagnosed the injury.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer Bill Stiffler said the owl looked much better on Friday and had gained a lot of weight since when he first saw him.

"We don't band all our birds, but special ones we do," expert Greta Mealey said. "So we did this one."

Stiffler got the honor of setting the bird free on Friday.

As a ground owl, the one set free will be able to eat plenty of rats, mice, small birds and even chickens.

Experts said there might be a small colony of short-eared owls being established in South Florida.

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JG: Next, they will claim that the owl has asked for political asylum and wants to visit Bush in the White House.

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