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