Reschedule Notice: Raptor Program Releases Great Horned Owl Back into Wild After University Vet Saves Eyesight with First Known Surgery of Its Kind

Note to Editors: RESCHEDULE NOTICE of NEWS ADVISORY/PHOTO OPPORTUNITY RAPTOR PROGRAM RELEASES GREAT HORNED OWL BACK INTO WILD AFTER UNIVERSITY VET SAVES EYESIGHT WITH FIRST KNOWN SURGERY OF ITS KIND This event has been rescheduled due to a forecast of violent weather this evening. The release is rescheduled for this Wednesday evening, June 23rd, at 5 p.m. at the location below.


What:     Release of a great-horned owl back into the wild after the raptor was treated for broken bones and severely injured eye after being brought to the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program at Colorado State University in February 2003. The wounded owl was found near Severance. At the Colorado State Veterinary Teaching Hospital, the bird had surgery on its wing, which was twisted 360 degrees, as well as several surgeries to attempt to repair an infected, ulcerated cut on the owl’s eyeball. A final surgery, performed as a desperate attempt to save the bird’s eye, is the first known surgery of its kind. The eye healed perfectly following the unique surgery, and the owl retained sight in the injured eye. Because of the extreme injuries to the eye, staff did not expect to be able to release the bird back into the wild. However, because the eye surgery was so successful, the owl can be released.

When:      5:10 p.m., WEDNESDAY, June 23RD

Where:      Environmental Learning Center, 3745 East Prospect Road, in Fort Collins. (Map and directions at

Details:      Raptor center staff, university veterinarians who treated the bird, and veterinary students will leave the Raptor Center around 5 p.m. to travel to the Environmental Learning Center, the cite of the release.

Reporters interested in attending the release should plan on meeting at 5:10 p.m. in the parking lot of the Environmental Learning Center. The release may be rescheduled due to extremely wet weather or high winds. Call the media contact to confirm release.


Contact:      Dell Rae Moellenberg, 970-491-6009,