Onslow County wildlife sanctuary searches for missing owl

HUBERT, N.C. (WNCT) – A wildlife sanctuary in Onslow County is still looking for a missing bird of prey after they lost four raptors during Hurricane Matthew when a large pine tree fell on the birds’ cage.

Two of those birds are now back in their cages at the Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary. One red-tailed hawk has come home but hasn’t been captured just yet.

“We tried all day yesterday to reach her, but just haven’t been able to,” said O’Neil. “So we’re trying again today and this time we’re trying with some different equipment. We’re using what’s called a bal-chatri trap for falconers to catch if their birds would get loose.”

The trap works by hooking around the hawks talons and is weighted so it can’t fly away.
There’s also still a great horned owl that hasn’t been found.

“The owl is going to be harder to spot because he’s going to be active in the night,” said Toni O’Neil, the sanctuary’s director. “During the day he should just be sitting some place. The sound they make is a very definitive ‘hooh hooh hooh’ so if you hear that definitely go out and start trying to find it.”

The cost to replace the cage will be extensive, and the sanctuary is asking for local support from donations to experienced carpenters.

O’Neil said the birds will not harm you.

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