MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (WGN) — An injured great horned owl is receiving care at a northwest Indiana wildlife facility after being rescued from a frozen lake by area first responders.
Merrillville firefighters and the police department’s animal control unit on Tuesday arrived at Hidden Lake Park to help a sedentary owl on the ice.
The rescue took about 35 minutes and two tries to catch the owl, the Times of Northwest Indiana reported.
When crews donned ice suits and deployed an ice rescue sled for their rescue attempt, the bird flew a bit closer to the edge of the lake. Authorities then decided to use a net to capture the owl safely.
Erin’s Farm, a Hobart-area nonprofit rescue sanctuary, took the injured owl from Merrillville first responders before turning the bird over to Humane Indiana Wildlife.
The Munster-area animal shelter shared on Facebook that the owl, who suffered injuries to its right wing, was doing well. While the owl did not suffer any fractures, bruising on his right wing and injuries to six primary flight feathers on the same side restricted its mobility.
“6 of his primary flight feathers have been destroyed, on that same side, rendering him temporarily unable to fly,” the shelter wrote. “We are currently treating him with anti-inflammatory and pain medication for the bruising.”
The animal shelter added that the recovery could take several months, barring a transplant procedure called imping, which replaces damaged feathers with healthy feathers from another bird of the same age and gender.
“Once his bruising has healed, we will be able to move him to an outdoor enclosure where he will be more comfortable,” the shelter said.
Anyone interested in contributing to the owl’s care may donate to the Humane Indiana Wildlife. More than $350 has been raised.