Posted: Friday, February 09, 2001

Rare owl injured but recovers

JUNEAU - The good news is that Thud-on-Thane, a Western screech owl, has recovered after being struck by a Juneau Recovery Hospital van Dec. 3.

The bad news is that Thud-on-Thane was struck by a Juneau Recovery Hospital van. The baseball-cap-size bird flew up from a ditch as the van rounded a corner, and the driver heard a thud. That's how the owl got his name.

Emergency medical technicians administered oxygen to the bird, and transported him to the Juneau Raptor Center. He was found to have sustained a severe brain injury, said Scot Tiernan, operations director of the center.

"Juneau is at the farthest reach of the Western screech owl's range," said Gus van Vliet of the Juneau Audubon Society. The owl does not sing much and is rarely sighted, van Vliet said.

Thud-on-Thane will be released into the wild at 3 p.m. Saturday. Those who want to wish him bon voyage should meet at the Sheep Creek Trailhead.

Last year, center volunteers treated 201 birds with more than 10,000 hours of volunteer time. Since the beginning of 2001, the center has received five eagles, a great horned owl and several other birds. Injured birds can be reported via the center's pager system, at 790-5424. Donations may be sent to Juneau Raptor Center, P.O. Box 34713, Juneau 99803.

Two lifts available at Eaglecrest

JUNEAU - No fresh snow fell at Eaglecrest Ski Area on Thursday night, but conditions were perfect for snowmaking, said business manager Gary Mendivil.

Temperatures at the ski area fell to 23 degrees with 86 percent humidity - just the right weather for making snow on the lower mountain, Mendivil said.

Hooter and Ptarmigan lifts are now operating. The weather forecast for tonight is clear and cold, with partly cloudy for the weekend.

Davidson to leave chamber post

JUNEAU - George Davidson is stepping down as head of the Juneau Chamber of Commerce.

Davidson came out of retirement to assume the part-time position in January 2000. One of his goals was to bring together communities from around Southeast. That has been accomplished to some degree with the recent Haines, Skagway and Juneau chambers meeting in Haines.

He plans to step down April 1, he said.

In Davidson's 37 years in Juneau, he has been an engineer with the city and state, owned a consulting business and an engineering firm, headed the Alaska Marine Highway System and served three terms on the Juneau Assembly.

Davidson said he plans to fly and spend time at a cabin he owns in the Interior.

"Hopefully, I will do a better job at retirement," he said.

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