Mysterious owl death raises health concerns among Grosse Ile residents

Owl seen acting strangely before dying in resident's driveway

By Shawn Ley - Reporter , Derick Hutchinson

GROSSE ILE, Mich. - Residents on Grosse Ile are concerned about possible health issues after an owl that was acting strangely was found dead in a man's driveway.

A resident in a condo community said he saw a large owl land in his driveway when suddenly, it died.

"Neither one of use knew what it died of," he said. "Do we know now?"

He and his neighbors want to know what was wrong with the owl, citing possible health concerns.

Julie Cortis, the animal control officer on Grosse Ile, said she encountered the owl this week and shot a video. She said it was unusual that she saw the owl during the day and that it let her get close.

"A great horned owl is pretty big, hard to miss," Cortis said. "I stopped in my tracks."

The next day, Cortis saw the owl again, but this time it was dead. She sent it straight to the state DNR for testing.

"If we can isolate it, then we will know we have it on Grosse Ile," Cortis said.

She said it could have been infected by West Nile virus, which is a major concern. It also could have eaten a mouse with rat poison in its system.

Cortis is putting out the alert not to use poison if homeowners are dealing with a rat problem.

"To use poison is out of my vocabulary," Cortis said.

You can watch Shawn Ley's full story in the video posted above.

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