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Wildlife officer rescues snowy owl on Christmas Day

The snowy owl is now in the hands of Robyn Graboski, founder of the Centre for Wildlife Care, a nonprofit organization that relies fully on donations.

HUNTINGDON, Penn. (WJAC) — There's a new patient checked into Centre Wildlife Care in Port Matilda, and he is a long way from home. He's a snowy owl who migrated from northern Canada and ended up at SCI Smithfield in Huntingdon. Wildlife officer Amanda Isett got the call on Christmas Day.

"He said, 'I have an injured snowy owl, what do I do?'" Isett said to her friend who works at the prison and made the call.

The owl was injured after getting his wing caught in the prison's barbed wire. Isett arrived at the prison within minutes, ready to work.

"I called my supervisor to make sure it was OK to go respond on my day off," Isett said. "When I walked in, I had a crate and a net, that's all I had."

It only took Isett a few minutes to wrangle the injured bird with some help from the prison's security guards.

"I was able to catch it in my net and easily put it on the ground, I grabbed it by its legs, which weren't injured, and put in the crate."

The snowy owl is now in the hands of Robyn Graboski, founder of the Centre for Wildlife Care, a nonprofit organization that relies fully on donations.

"We got a call from Amanda and of course we were going to help. We have all sorts of animals here but snowy owls are the unicorns of the bird world," Graboski said. "It's rare when you see them."

Graboski said Thursday that she expects the owl, whom she named "St. Nick," to make a full recovery.

"We need to get his feather in perfect condition before we can send him back to the tundra." Graboski said.

Isett said she always wanted to see a snowy owl, and rescuing one made her Christmas a day she will never forget.

"It was a lifetime bird for me, so I was pretty excited," Isett said. "I told my mom and husband that this was my favorite Christmas gift I ever got."

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