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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Barred owl comes home to Gabriola

On May 1 a barred owl was discovered unable to fly in the vicinity of Fleet Road on the island. Thanks to two young people who discovered it and called GROWLS, the owl was taken to North Island Wildlife Recovery in Errington for care. While there, it became a mentor in the flight barn for some owlets who had lost their mother, so was kept a couple of extra weeks to provide this care and teaching.

Last evening, the now-healthy owl was returned to Gabriola for release. (The Ministry of Forests, Lands  and Natural Resource Operations prefers that all rescued and rehabilitated animals are returned to the habitat where they were found.) Members of GROWLS were informed of the pending release and many showed up to celebrate the owl's release back to the woods where it came from.

Waiting for the owl on Fleet Road.

Before the owl was released Andy said a few words in celebration, Jean read a poem for the owl, and Liz Ciocea read the following words:

Owl you have travelled far. From being found in the road injured, cold and confused, rescued by kind and caring people. Other kind folks took you to a place where you were healed and made well. Then owl you stayed on awhile to help some wee owlets who had lost their mother and lost their way. Now you are home, free at last to fly silently through the forest. Fly well, fly free brave Owl

Iain and Andy prepare to release the owl.

Owl heading for the forest. Photo by Tawny Capon.

"Wow. I remember this!" Photo by Tawny Capon.

"It's good to be home again!" Photo by Tawny Capon.

(Forgive all the blatant anthropormizing. I seem unable to resist.)

Safe in a tree! Photo by Tawny Capon.

Barred owls are very common on Gabriola. Their "Who, who, who cooks for you all?" song is unmistakable. In the spring, during mating season, you might hear the sound of barking and whooping and hollaring in a tree near you. If so, it's probably a barred owl or two involved in ensuring the continuation of the species.

1 comment:

nick said...

A better mouse trap?

I'm sure it's a familiar story to some, but we were having dinner with friends the other evening when to everyone's surprise a large barred owl appeared on a post at the edge of the deck. After swivelling its head to check out the assembled company, it proceeded for a good twenty minutes to peruse the ground just beneath a bird feeder. Unfortunately, the menu was not good and so eventually it moved on but it left behind much discussion as to how close to 360 degrees they can twist their heads. It is nice to have them around.