Apr 27, 2015

Western screech owl rescue

Today, WES received word about an owl that was caught inside a building in Santa Clara. It had come in through the front doors a couple of nights before, when workers were installing new carpeting.

When we arrived, the owl was tucked up in a space above the dropped ceilings of the office. We would never be able to get him out of there, so we worked with the bird's behavior to devise a plan...

Since the bird had spent most of the morning in the offices, perching on various objects, one can say it's "comfortable" with that space - not fearful (yet). We needed to keep it that way. Conversely, we needed to make the space above the dropped ceiling a "bad and scary" place, so we had Duane stick his head through one of the ceiling tiles.

It worked. The little owl dropped down into the office space again.

The company's employees, whose offices we had invaded, were all so wonderful. They were so concerned for the owl, and so willing to help.

We gave them jobs, positioning them in certain spots to prevent the owl from going down a hall that led to windows where it could be seriously injured. We assigned another to help with the net panel, and another helped with one of the nets.

We used a panel of netting to block one end of a hallway, with Duane approaching from behind. It worked, until the owl wiggled through a small gap. 

On the next attempt, the owl was successfully netted and quickly taken outside where it was placed on a branch of a tree.

There, it sat for some time. Looking around. Alert. Responsive. Then, all of a sudden it hopped across branches and took off toward the building (Please, don't crash into a window!) and straight up under an overhang.

We used binoculars to get a better look and found the owl nestled on a spike strip, padded with pine needles. Was this its roost or could it be a nest? 

Western screech nest almost exclusively in cavities of trees and will take readily to nest boxes. Pairs mate for life, but if a partner is lost they may take a new mate.

We will be checking up on this little owl in days to come. Stay tuned!



Anonymous said...

Thank you WES for saving this little owl and getting it back home. Rebecca and Duane, you were amazing and the love you have for what you do emits volumes in your work. Cheers, G.

Unknown said...

Love watching your rescue videos!

Anonymous said...

Awesome story!

Anthony Luciany said...

Will miss the little guy

Anonymous said...

Good luck little Affy!