U of Illinois finds bird that escaped from clinic handler

URBANA, Ill. (AP) — An American kestrel that the University of Illinois used as an educational bird of prey has been found after escaping last week. The bird, named Thistle, has one eye and can’t survive in the wild. She escaped Sept. 23 from a handler at the University of Illinois Wildlife Clinic. The clinic said Tuesday that Thistle was found in west Champaign and entered her travel crate “to eat a meal hungrily.” The Wildlife Medical Clinic and the College of Veterinary Medicine posted online that staff are “rejoicing” in Thistle’s return and are grateful for the community’s help finding her. The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports the bird arrived at the clinic in 2012 with an eye injury. She couldn’t be released into the wild and has been kept as an educational bird.