Chester the owl possibly sighted Friday

Saturday, February 21, 2009 | 4:28 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA – The search for Chester the owl continues.  Columbia resident Hope Morris thought she saw Chester at about 7:05 a.m. Friday in the El Chaparral neighborhood. 

Chester, a blind, barred owl, escaped from the Raptor Rehabilitation Project on Sunday afternoon.

Morris was surprised when she saw a low-flying owl in the neighborhood.  Morris was unable to tell if the owl was wearing leather straps, anklet or swivel. 

Kathryn Kettenbach, the MU student in charge of Chester's medical care, searched the neighborhood for about an hour without sighting the owl.

Christina Bure, who worked with Chester at the rehabilitation project center said that search efforts for Chester would continue.  Searching for a bird is no easy task due to their mobility, said Bure.

The rehabilitation project center has received numerous calls with reported sightings.  Members of the center have investigated these sightings in addition to searching the surrounding area where Chester escaped .

"We're definitely not ready to give up," Bure said. "We will keep looking as long as we are getting reliable and valid tips."

Chester entered the rehabilitation center in 2006 with a broken scapula.  The injury left her with impaired vision. One of her retinas is detached while the other is only partially detached.

These vision problems will most likely affect Chester's ability to hunt.  However, Chester "has a little bit of weight built up on him,"  Bure said as a result of regular feedings while in the rehabilitation center.

If you see Chester, contact the College of Veterinary Medicine’s small animal hospital at 882-7821 during business hours or call  882-4589 after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

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