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Rare owl released back into wild | Pets

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Rare owl released back into wild

COOPERSVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) -- A rare owl that was found near death in a Coopersville barn was released back into the wild Friday afternoon.

The barn owl, thought not to exist in Michigan, was found inside Bruce and Laura Conrad's barn, back in June. The family took the owl to Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids, to be treated.  A veterinarian determined the bird had ingested rat poison.

After six months of rehab it was released near the home where it was found.  Sam Smith and Lori Lomoro from Blandford worked with the bird.

"We weren't sure if we caught it in time, or what was going to happen, but he bounced right back," says Smith.  "It's pretty amazing how far he came from where he was to what we saw today.  Absolutely amazing."

"It's awesome to see he made it," says Lomoro.  "We haven't seen him make noise like that".

"It's cool, he didn't make noise then," says Bruce Conrad.

The owl appeared to have no trouble flying once he was released.

The hope is that he finds a mate and starts to rebuild the population of barn owls in Michigan.