After several weeks of rehabilitation at the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke, an injured barred owl finally recovered and returned to the wild near his point of rescue in Danville, Va.

The organization planned to release the owl on New Year’s Day, but inclement weather pushed the nonprofit’s plan back to Jan. 2.

A local firefighter found the owl entangled in fishing line, with lacerations to his legs, near the Dan River. Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center staff member Madison Burnette and her team helped the owl heal over the next two months before he was ready to fly again.

“There have been hard parts, seeing him in pain and seeing him frustrated because [he] can’t do everything [he wants] to do,” Burnette said. “In the end, the ends justify the means, when we get him out to where he belongs.”

Lady Freethinker applauds the efforts of the local firefighter and the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center for ensuring this innocent owl’s full recovery and release back into the wild. And remember to please clean up after yourself; it could save an animal’s life.