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Snowy Owl released in January 2002

In loving memory of Sierra Kendall

A Snowy Owl was found in early-December 2001 on a beach near Port Clinton, Ohio by workers at an industrial park. The owl had a double treble-hook entangled in its feet and beak. The owl was taken to Back To The Wild where the hooks were removed and antibiotics were administered. Notice the trace of blood just below its beak in this picture taken early in its care at Back To The Wild.

The owl recovered very well and her release back to the wild was planned for January 19 from the Crane Creek Wildlife Area along the shores of Lake Erie. Articles announcing the release appeared in several area newspapers since there had been a lot of interest shown for the owl.

The day before the planned release, Bill and Mona's very young granddaughter, Sierra Kendall, passed away in Toledo, Ohio. Since the owl's release had already been announced as a public event in many newspapers, there was no way to stop the event. Consulting her family, they said it would help comfort them and help let Sierra go.

There were approximately one hundred people gathered at the bird observation tower for the release on January 19. Many of Mona's family as well as Back To The Wild volunteers and supporters and local bird watchers were in attendance.

The owl's release was beautiful. She flew far out into the blue sky, over the marsh, turned and circled back toward the crowd, then spotted the peak of the Migratory Bird Center building and landed there. She had a birds-eye view of her new habitat and the sun reflected off her beautiful, white feathers.

The release was very healing and meaningful for Bill and Mona and for Sierra's family. This is what Mona read to her family and friends and those attending the release:

In all the years I have rehabilitated injured wildlife and had the privilege and thrill of returning animals back into the wild, this Snowy Owl has affected me in a way no other animal has. When she arrived, she was so beautiful, perfect and unique, I felt I had to let her go, no matter what, because she belonged to another part of the world we can't yet understand.

Yesterday, our new baby granddaughter, Sierra Kendall, just three days old, passed away. She left us here on earth, taking part of our hearts and souls with her. I have never named a wild animal, but today we are releasing this Owl in memory of our little one - returning to her spirit - its song . . .

With all of our love - Sierra - be Free!

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This was last modified on January 28, 2002.