An annual tradition

Bringing a feathered guest home for the holidays is becoming a yearly tradition for Carol Kelly.

Medicine River Wildlife Centre executive director Carol Kelly

Bringing a feathered guest home for the holidays is becoming a yearly tradition for Carol Kelly.

The executive director of the Medicine River Wildlife Centre says her family is used to her coming with an unusual Christmas guest and this season is no different.

On Christmas Eve, Kelly transported a great horned owl to her daughter’s home in Cochrane.

The owl, which suffered a broken leg, needs to be fed through a tube several times a day so Kelly couldn’t leave it unattended at the centre. She doesn’t mind the routine and neither does her four-year-old granddaughter Cassidy.

“Cassidy has grown up with it,” said Kelly. “I’m sure she thinks everyone has owls.”

Kelly’s daughter Erin Young also knows what kind of work is involved. She’s in charge of educational programs for the centre, 40 km west of Innisfail.

The centre staff and volunteers help rehabilitate and release injured and orphaned wild animals from across Alberta. Currently, the centre has around 97 birds, a beaver, plus a porcupine, which is expected to recover after being hit by a car. Another porcupine had become a nuisance in Red Deer after stripping off tree branches to eat.

The recent cold snap forced the centre to bring many of its birds inside, including some of its permanent inhabitants that can’t fly well.

“Our cages inside are absolutely full because the (permanent) ones have been brought in,” Kelly said. “Plus, we’re having a busy patient season, more busier than normal this time of year.”

Three patients were found with broken, frozen limbs. The small owl died within a few hours after arriving at the centre, while the eagle and deer were euthanized.

With colder conditions, wildlife generally need to consume more food. Deer and moose can nibble on high branches. It’s the smaller birds of prey that don’t do as well because their food is beneath the deep snow.

The harsh winter has been particularly hard on the saw-whet owl, a miniature owl that feeds mainly on small rodents.

“They have a difficult time because they have to dive through the snow to get to the mice,” Kelly said.

These owls have a better chance of survival if they find an open barn where there’s no threat of other predators.

As Kelly expects some wildlife are feeling right now, she can’t wait for spring.

The centre has a busy fundraising year ahead so it can start a number of projects, including major building renovations. It will raffle of a trip for two to Paris on Wednesday as part of its 2010 calendar campaign. For information, go online at www.medicineriverwildlifecentre.ca

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Man from Olds killed in collision near Sundre

A 39-year-old man from Olds was killed in a collision near Sundre… Continue reading

Tips to keep crime at bay this Christmas

’Tis the season for joy and celebration, but the Christmas season can… Continue reading

Olympic ski run designer creates upgrades at Canyon Ski Resort

Jeff Ihaksi says free-style and alpine ski venues are Canada Winter Games-worthy

Updated: Collision expert backs version of crash of driver accused of manslaughter

Daniel Newsham accused of manslaughter in fatal 2016 collision

WATCH: More than 100 protest UN migration pact, carbon tax in Red Deer

Chants of “Trudeau must go” echoed through the streets of downtown Red… Continue reading

Tkachuk’s goal in 3rd gives Flames 2-1 win over Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Matthew Tkachuk scored the go-ahead goal midway through… Continue reading

Women use scent to lure wolf-dog that ran away from Calgary airport

EDMONTON — A woman from Alberta is thanking an unconventional strategy for… Continue reading

Suspect in Alberta, Saskatchewan bank robberies to get mental assessment

MEDICINE HAT, Alta. — A former Winnipeg broadcaster and journalism instructor accused… Continue reading

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau says his government hopes to make legal changes… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $60 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — There was no winning ticket for the $60 million jackpot… Continue reading

All evacuation orders lifted in deadly California wildfire

PARADISE, Calif. — All evacuation orders have been lifted in Paradise more… Continue reading

All aflutter about our feathered friends

Christmas Bird Count will be held Dec. 23

Baylor ties pervade rape case that sparked uproar

DALLAS — The Texas judge who approved a plea deal allowing a… Continue reading

Most Read