After what appeared to be a reluctant takeoff, the great horned owl outfitted with new sight thanks to the University of Wisconsin-Madison is now perched in the treetops near Manitowoc, Wis.
Last December, cataracts clouded the creature’s vision, preventing it from capturing the prey it needed to survive.
The wildlife rescuers who found the owl brought the emaciated bird to UW-Madison’s School of Veterinary Medicine. There, ophthalmologist Christopher Murphy, along with residents Renee Carter and Katie Diehl, removed the cataracts and implanted a pair of specially designed lenses to restore the owl’s vision and enable it to return to the wild. The medical personnel named the winged patient Minerva.
Recovered from surgery, fed back to full flying strength and now able to catch live prey, Minerva used its new sight to fly free on April 30.
Although the bird quickly descended back to the ground—perhaps because it wasn't used to the radio transmitter harnessed to its back—it eventually soared toward the sky. The rehabilitators—part of Wildlife of Wisconsin, Manitowoc Area Rehabilitators, who also are monitoring the bird's progress—say Minerva continues to do well.
Owl with eye lens implant to be released back into wild (April 28, 2004) http://www.news.wisc.edu/9754.html
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