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Snowy Owl Rescued

A snowy owl spotted for the first time in Western North Carolina in decades is fighting to stay alive. Severely underweight and ill, naturalist and longtime bird rehabilitation expert Carlton Burke has taken 'Tundra' into his nature sanctuary in Mills River. 

"Suddenly hes now in captivity because hes weak and needs some extra help," said Burke from his bird sanctuary where he's caring for 'Tundra.' "The first 48 hours are most critical and I've had this bird about 24 hours now and its survived. At this point were getting it to eat. It's been examined by a veterinarian, a lot of tests have been done, X-rays. We dont see any actual injuries at this point in time."

But Burke said the snowy owl native to the arctic and Canada is weak.

The owl was first spotted two weeks ago in and around Brevard and Rosman.  Bird enthusiasts drove from as far away as Virginia to get a glimpse of her. 

"Monday nine o'clock she came in my backyard probably 20 feet away from the back door," said Wil Kilpatrick who lives on a farm in Brevard. He and others fed the owl a mouse.

"And when we did the way she came and approached it, you could tell something wasn't right with her." 

That's when Kilpatrick called Carlton Burke to get the owl help.

Burke believes the owl is a girl because of black shading on her feathers. She's being kept warm and quiet with no visitors allowed.  Snowy owls normally live much farther north and are rarely found in the southeast. Kilpatrick wants to do anything he can to help. 

"I think we should raise money to help the naturalist do what he can to save the owl." 

If you'd like to help Wil can be reached at 828-553-3127.

By Kimberly King

Follow Kim on Twitter @KimKingReports


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