HOWELL (CBS DETROIT) – It’s back to the wild for an endangered short-eared owl that’s spent the past three years at the Howell Nature Center.

Shorty, the short-eared owl, has recovered and will be released from the Howell Nature Center. (Credit/Howell Nature Center)

Shorty, the short-eared owl, has recovered and will be released from the Howell Nature Center. (Credit/Howell Nature Center)

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Shorty was found injured at Metro Airport in 2011, but Nature Center Director Dana DeBenham, noticed that she re-gained her flying skills last year.

“We selected that because many birders typically view short-ears arriving from up in Canada around the first and second week of December. So the timing is perfect,” said DeBenham.

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She says the release is bittersweet but is excited for Shorty.

“It would really be selfish of us to keep her here as an education bird,” she said. “We are hoping that in one small way she might be able to re-establish the declining short-eared population in Michigan.”

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DeBenham says three children, who are now outpatients at Mott Children’s Hospital, will be part of the release … opening Shorty’s carrier.