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Letter: Snowy owl, all wildlife deserve compassion

To the Editor:

There’s a magic about certain wild animals. Owls are some of the most captivating birds. And snowy owls, like Hedwig in the Harry Potter movies, may be the most captivating of all owls. Their pure white, almost angelic feathering gives them a mystical appearance. Think you have to go to the movies to see one of these? Not so.

A debilitated snowy owl attracted quite a crowd near the intersection of First and Roosevelt streets in DeKalb on Tuesday, Nov. 20. That’s right. A Hedwig look-alike may have flown right over your backyard a couple of weeks ago. These experiences are rare and should be treasured. I’m certain that the people who gathered at that intersection a couple of weeks ago will surely remember the day they saw the snowy owl in DeKalb.

There are other wild animals, maybe not as striking, but just as deserving of our notice and our compassion. The bunnies that people find in their backyards, the raccoon kits left to die after their mom has been hit on the road, the baby birds that are blown out of their nests in spring storms, the injured fawns. They all deserve compassion. For those of us who have had the privilege to see them up close and personal, and actually care for them, it’s an honor.

Sometimes it takes a sighting like that of a snowy owl on First Street in DeKalb for people to start looking at the wildlife that surrounds us. We are surrounded by beauty every day; we just need to take notice.

The snowy owl was taken to a veterinarian who has expertise with birds of prey. The reason for the dehydration and emaciation appears to be an injured beak, which may have been caused by a car collision or flying into a window. We will never know. This injury requires long-term rehabilitation. For anyone who would like to help with the cost of rehabilitating the snowy owl, donations can be sent to Oaken Acres, 12140 Aldrich Road, Sycamore, IL 60178, or visit www.oakenacres.org.

Kathy Stelford

Founder/director, Oaken Acres Wildlife Center Sycamore

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