Owls may be the mail carrier for Harry Potter and a symbol of spooky things on Halloween, but when they’re hurt or sick many vets don’t have the training to help the big birds. A center in Carrol County offers a refuge for wild birds, and director Kay Newman works with sponsors and volunteers to run SOAR — “Saving Our Avian Resources.” She started it 17 years ago and moved to a home near Dedham over a dozen years ago. As time passes more people learn about her center and bring more wild animals. When she couldn’t afford to do it all on her own, around 1999 she started SOAR as a nonprofit so they could raise money for medical costs, x-rays, food and cages to do the rehabilitation. Newman has a degree in wildlife biology and works with vets in Manning and Storm Lake to fix up and rehab birds, with the goal of returning them to the wild. She says people find SOAR in many different ways. Some find her through the internet, and when somebody sees an injured bird and calls their county conservation board of the DNR, those agencies can direct people and even sometimes help pick up and transport an injured bird. The center gets the proper permits from the Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of natural Resources, since all the animals they work with are protected by state and federal laws. To help with the cost, Newman’s found business benefactors to “sponsor” some of the birds too badly hurt to return to the wild. Some have wing injuries that render them unable to hunt, or eye injuries that’d prevent them from living as a wild birds, and so the center’s allowed to keep them and use them in educational programs. So despite laws forbidding private individuals to have such raptors as pets or possessions, the center has some it’s allowed to keep, birds Newman calls “ambassadors.” Twelve non-releasable raptors they take to schools so people can see a bald eagle or peregrin falcon up close. Last night she did a program at Jester Park, and says people come to see the birds and give her a chance to talk about “all kinds of things they’d never listen to me otherwise.” She says the owls are mysterious, the bald eagles named Liberty and Spirit are popular with schoolkids, and Manly schools held a contest recently to name the falcon, now dubbed “Victory.” The center sponsors a workshop in Vinton for people interested in becoming rehabilitators, and Newman will do more “Bald Eagle Days” in midwinter at Polk County’s Jester Park Lodge. The website for more information is www.soarraptors.org