Trapped owl rescued from lagoon at Vander Veer Park
DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Firefighters saved a wounded owl from the frozen lagoon at Vander Veer Park on Monday, a rescue that couldn’t have happened without the help of Davenport residents.
The owl was found dangling from a fishing line on an island in the lagoon, said Jojo Fernandez, a wildlife wrangler called in by bystanders.
“He was probably out here fishing and eating like normal in the wild, and, unfortunately, when fishermen don’t pick up their lines, wildlife get caught up in them and it causes a lot of animals to lose their lives,” Fernandez said. “It’s sad. It’s a terrible way to die.”
Fernandez, who runs Jojo’s Nut House Wildlife Rehabilitation, rushed the animal to a federally licensed raptor rehabilitator in Kewanee, Illinois.
Tamara Yarger was still assessing the owl late Monday afternoon.
“His wing is badly broken and needs sutures,” she said. “It’s just too early to say if he’ll be OK.”
The owl has a fighting chance thanks to Matt and Katrina Andybur, who had just finished breakfast and driven to the park when they spotted the bird.
“It had clearly got caught up in a fishing wire and clipped the end of its wing, and it had some damage from trying to break itself loose,” Katrina Andybur said. “It just continued to fight, but you could tell it was slowing down and running out of energy.”
With Monday being a holiday, the Andyburs and others who’d gathered struggled to reach authorities or conservationists.
The Davenport Fire Department responded to keep would-be rescuers from walking on the frozen lagoon.
Firefighters in yellow suits slid across the ice to reach the owl.
“I feel like we got here right in the nick of the time,” Andybur said. “It took a real team effort.”
She was relieved the bird was in the care of experts.
“This ended up being a sweet way to start the new year.”
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