To The Rescue: Local man saves injured birds, stranded motorists (with video)


Finding an injured Grey Horned Owl along the side of Highway 22 is only slightly unusual for John Fielding. In November, the New England resident spotted an injured bird in the snow after a snowplow just passed.  Photo submitted by John Fielding

John Fielding loves living in a small town. He loves everything about it.

By Brad Mosher
The Herald

But even he has to admit that when a representative from the Dakota Zoo came to southern Stark County near the Hettinger County border to release a bird, it was a happy ending to a three-month adventure.

Fielding, who has a TSA job at the Dickinson airport, spotted something moving on the side of Highway 22 just a short distance away from the airport in mid-November.

He stopped and turned around.

He took the bird to Bismarck during a blizzard for treatment. Three months later, Terry Lincoln (left) and
Fielding (right) returned to release the owl near where it was injured.  Photo submitted by John Fielding

What he found would add a 12-hour road trip to his day in the middle of a blizzard. It was Grey Horned Owl.

“They are the most fierce predator of all the raptors. They will take down other raptors,” he said, recalling that he found it with a broken wing right after a snow plow had gone past. “It was hard to catch in the snow. I had a pair of work gloves that weren’t that heavy that I knew I could end up with cut-up hands. You could feel it grip down, but it didn’t fight or anything,” he said.

“It seemed like it knew I wasn’t going to harm it.

“I had crouched down a couple of feet from it and called the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota – I had been there before – they have a veterinary hospital and are federally licensed. They told me I couldn’t cross state lines, but they would try to find out who in North Dakota was licensed to handle federally-protected animals. Raptors are all protected.

“They called me back and told to me to watch it for a while and see if it is injured,” he recalled. “I said it was hit by a snowplow and has a bad wing. I was sitting right beside it. I could touch it

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