Happy “Owl-O-Ween”: Great Plains Zoo Releases Owl Back To Wild

A Great Horned Owl has been under the care of the Great Plains Zoo since the last half of the summer and now, she’s been released back into the wild.

The owl was released late Monday morning, fittingly on Halloween. The owl was brought to the Zoo after a South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Officer found it on the ground, underweight and unable to fly. Being the regions rehabilitation center for native wildlife, Great Plains Zoo President and CEO Elizabeth Whealy says the staff took the owl out daily to not only rebuild its strength but make sure it kept it’s natural instincts.

“We need to work with them to condition those flight muscles and make sure that all their wild instincts are still in play,” explained Whealy. “So that means even testing their hunting skills to make sure that they’re going to be good for life on their own in the wild again.”

Once released, the owl flew into a nearby pine tree, resting for the evening when they are typically more active. Great Horned Owl normally live for 13 years in the wild, mainly feeding on small rodents like mice and rats. However, they occasionally feed on larger birds… sometimes even owls.