Bird TLC caps busy week with release of 2 raptors

An owl and a hawk fly free again after being rehabilitated.

Bird TLC volunteer Kara Bolt did double duty Friday when she had a hand in releasing two species of birds back into the wild after they were rehabilitated. The first to be released was a Boreal owl in Eagle River. The second was a hawk in the Palmer Hay Flats.

Elizabeth Walley found the small owl, which weighed 99 grams at its last check-in, earlier this month on the ground outside her work and brought it to Bird TLC. She was able to take a few minutes off of work on Friday to meet Bolt, who let Walley open the cage to release the bird.

“To see an animal that we didn’t really know what was going on with it,” Walley said, “just take off in flight, beautiful. It feels amazing.” Now that she has had this experience, Walley, who moved to Alaska from Mississippi, said that she’s going to keep any eye out for owls or other small animals who need help.

“We never want to mess with wildlife,” she said, “we want wildlife to stay wild. But this was a very odd situation. And we knew that we needed to help this little guy out, and so we did.”

The second bird of the day for Bolt was a Rough-legged hawk. The bird was brought to Bird TLC from Gambell last October and spent the past year rehabilitating from a wing injury at the Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka. Rough-legged hawks spend their summers in the arctic and winters in open habitats across the Lower 48 and southern Canada.

Bird TLC also released a Great Horned owl and an Osprey last week.

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Loren Holmes

Loren Holmes is a staff photojournalist at the Anchorage Daily News. Contact him at