'Let him carry on:' Rescued Barred Owl released after run-in with fishing line

Rebekah Tuchscherer

A few ruffled feathers didn’t keep a rescued Barred Owl at the Bramble Park Zoo for long.

John Gilman, who works in raptor rehab at the Watertown zoo, said the owl was found on Sunday with its left wing tangled in fishing line. The person who found the bird untangled it from the line and it was subsequently brought to the zoo for further care.

However, after a Monday afternoon X-ray, it was found that the fishing line had caused no broken bones or tissue injuries — just a bit of damage to some feathers.

Without need for further care, Bramble Park Zoo released the bird on Wednesday.

“We’re just going to put him back where he was found,” Gilman said. “Let him carry on.”

Most Barred Owl sightings are in the Sioux Falls area, Gilman said, and few rarely make the trip north to Watertown. He noted that the last time he’d seen this type of owl in Watertown was more than 20 years ago.

The Barred Owl was first spotted near the zoo on Feb. 11, and has subsequently made its home along the Big Sioux River in the Watertown area. Gilman said that thick woods and old trees make the area an attractive one for owls.

“He picked a really nice area to take up residence,” he said.

To avoid damage to wildlife, Gilman noted in a post on the Bramble Park Zoo Facebook page that fishers should always dispose of their fishing line properly.

A Barred Owl was rescued in Watertown on Monday after getting its left wing caught in fishing line that was left near the river.