Just before the first snowstorm in December, a Hope couple’s stroll near Silver Lake would change the fate of an owl drastically.
Shelly Baker and Dave Daoust came across an owl that was stranded.
“She was extremely quiet, and just wasn’t moving when the two dogs approached her, she didn’t move and an owl just doesn’t react that way,” said Baker. “This was what we found out afterwards — because she was so malnourished she had no energy, so she was on the brink of dying.”
Baker observed the owl, and when she got home she called the O.W.L. (Orphaned Wildlife) Rehabilitation Society in Delta, a rescue that specializes in raptors.
O.W.L. recommended that Baker returns to pick up that owl. Baker and Daoust grabbed a blanket, went back to Silver Lake and brought it back. They kept it in the basement and phoned O.W.L. again.
O.W.L. volunteer, Diane Reiswig, came a few hours later from Chilliwack. She brought the owl back to her home because O.W.L.’s facility had already closed.
“When I first went and got the bird, I checked it out to the best of my ability,” said Reiswig.
Diane noticed the owl was “badly emaciated.” The owl also had a fractured wing, and Reiswig estimated that it had been sitting for three or four days, unable to find food for itself.
She cut up some mice and fed the owl, before driving the owl to O.W.L. the next day.
O.W.L. bandaged it up and gave it time, along with feeding it.
On Jan. 26, Reiswig returned to Hope with the fully-healed owl, which had also grown twice in size.
“There was urgency to release her when they did was because it was mating season for the owl, but they wouldn’t have released her if she still had any complications,” said Baker.
Reiswig, Daoust and Baker headed back up Silver Skagit Road. By this time, Hope has already seen a few cycles of snowing, melting and refreezing.
“It was solid ice going up there, so it was pretty scary to drive up there,” said Baker.
Baker could not go back to the original spot where the owl got stranded, so they released the owl across from that original spot.