Wildlife rehabber, vets recognized by Colorado Parks and Wildlife | SteamboatToday.com

Wildlife rehabber, vets recognized by Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Colorado Parks and Wildlife on Monday recognized Steamboat Veterinary Hospital and local wildlife rehabber Tracy Bye for their years of volunteering to help wildlife. Pictured are, from left, Christy Bubenheim, Dr. Nate Daughenbaugh, Andrea Sponseller, Dr. Lee Meyring, Tracy Bye and Libbie Miller.

A Steamboat Springs woman passionate about the welfare of wildlife and a veterinary hospital that is never hesitant to offer help were recognized by Colorado Parks and Wildlife Monday for their years of work. Tracy Bye and Steamboat Veterinary Hospital were treated to breakfast and presented plaques by local wildlife officers.

Bye has operated Born Free Wildlife Rehabilitation at her ranch in rural Routt County for the past 24 years.
She has a packed facility right now with goslings, ducklings, a meadowlark, elk calf, kestrel and even a great horned owl.

Last summer, she bottle-fed a nest of great horned owl chicks that had fallen from a tree at Steamboat Lake.

Bye is taking care of all the animals with the goal of releasing them back into the wild.

Running the rehabilitation facility is a lot of work, but Bye volunteers all of her time, and she relies on donations to buy supplies.

She once took care of four hungry merganser ducklings that each week would eat $1,000 worth of meal worms and goldfish.

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Bye has helped the smallest of animals.

One year, wildlife officer Libbie Miller came across a yellow parakeet walking down the center of Colorado Highway 131.

"Strange things that you would never expect," Miller said.

Miller said without Bye's work, many animals would have been euthanized.

"A lot of our areas don't have local rehabbers," Miller said. "She serves a lot of Northwest Colorado."

Over the years, Bye has worked closely with Steamboat Veterinary Hospital, which has been in business since 1952.
"These guys have been there from the ground up," Bye said.

The veterinarians have done surgery on a red-tailed hawk and even helped a bald eagle with a broken scapula.

A few years after being released, the bald eagle was spotted with a mate.

"It's just a huge asset for us," wildlife officer Andrea Sponseller said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland