By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
CEDAR HILL COMMUNITY – Tuesday night, while most people were getting ready for bed, Jerry Roberts was saving a protected bird from a piece of farming equipment.
Roberts, a master sergeant in the law enforcement arm of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, was called out to the Cedar Hill community around 10 p.m. Tuesday because a great horned owl was caught in a combine.
“It had landed on the grain hopper and slid down in the grain elevator where he couldn’t flap his wings wide enough to get out,” Roberts said.
The great horned owl, which The Nature Conservancy says is the only animal that eats skunks and helps keep rodent populations low, is protected under the Migratory Bird Act.
Rogers said he lowered a dip net into the combine and the owl seemed to know he was being rescued.
“I put the net down there and he clamped onto the edge of the net with his talons and held on,” he said. “As soon as I got him to the opening he took off and got in a tree where he sat for a few minutes before taking off across the bean field.”
He said the owl was uninjured and should survive.
“A lot of times if you rescue them with a broken leg or wing, it’s hard to bring them back from that trauma,” he said.
Roberts spent just less than two hours rescuing the protected bird.