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Great horned owl gets helping hand

It's not often a great horned owl ends up at Wildlife Images.

But on Sunday, an adult male owl needed help from the animal rehabilitation center near Grants Pass after a resident in Shady Cove saw the bird 15 or 20 feet up a tree, flapping its wings erratically.

Firefighters responded and used a ladder to rescue the bird, which had fishing line wrapped tightly around one wing. It was a few hundred yards from the Rogue River.

"It was stuck big time," Rick Mendenhall, captain for Jackson County Fire District No. 4, said Monday afternoon.

Firefighters removed the fishing line and placed the bird on the ground, but it was too tired to fly.

So they wrapped it in a blanket, and the bird was taken to Wildlife Images, 13 miles west of Grants Pass.

"We're giving it fluids to get it back in shape," said Devan Ferrell, marketing coordinator for Wildlife Images. "After some rest and TLC, it's going to move to an outdoor enclosed structure."

The bird weighs 2.45 pounds, about normal for an adult male.

If and when the bird regains its wing strength it will be released, Ferrell said, adding that it's hard to predict how long that will take.

"We are very hopeful," she said.

The incident illustrates the risk to animals posed by discarded fishing line. Anglers are urged to take home any loose or aging line, and either throw it away or recycle it at fishing line recycle containers at various boat ramps in the county.