MADISON (SPECTRUM) --When it comes to rescuing wildlife, the Dane County Hume Society Wildlife Center is lucky to have 'Santa' as a volunteer.
The off-duty Chris Kringle, John Kraak, says he loves to rescue the animals, especially owls, and place them back in their nests as soon as they are healthy enough to return.
‘How many old guys like me can climb trees,' Kraak said laughing.
‘We don’t do a lot of rescues but they are usually headed by John,' Dane County Humane Society Wildlife Center Rehabilitator Sara Karls said.
‘Well, John has a ton of experience and he does try to keep things light, and that’s helpful for those situations where you are trying to rescue something and it might be frustrating, so he keeps the mood happy and upbeat,' she said.
Kraak says the organization always tries to put the baby owls back with their mother, but if they can't, they use 'wild fostering.'
‘Turns out wise old owls aren’t as wise as they look, they can’t do math,' Kraak explained. He says the owls species has no problem adopting their own.
He says the organization usually rescues about a dozen owls a year and the first of this season happened just a few weeks ago. Luckily, that bird is recovering with a broken femur.
"It's great to give them a second chance, you're helping owls, ecology," Kraak said.
The organization says if you find an injured owl or any baby animal alone, do not approach. There is concern that the animal might imprint on you instead of their species. Rather, you should call them directly for information on what to do.