Owl Rescued from Soccer Net

by Jennifer Brent, Executive Director

Owl in soccer net, Photo by Fernando Romero

The day after Christmas we received an urgent call from the folks over at Chaminade College Prep in West Hills. They had found a Great Horned Owl caught in their soccer net. Students started to cut him free but were concerned about handling the owl. We were able to send Heather Henderson from the Marine Mammal rescue team to try to rescue the trapped bird. Throughout the rescue, the owl was calm and relaxed, but once she was completely separated from the netting, she regained her normally wild demeanor.

Heather transferred her to our hospital for our vet to check for injuries.  The owl had suffered abrasions to a few toes on her left foot and perhaps a minor injury to her wing.  X-rays revealed no actual signs of breakage, and she was confined to cage rest for a few days because of the duration and extent of her entanglement in the netting.

Owl being examined by CWC staff, Photo by Jennifer Brent

We did a test flight with the owl in one of our fully enclosed outdoor flight pens, and she soared! Volunteer Corby Sandberg, who brought the Great Horned Owl back to West Hills for release, said, “It was an uplifting experience…carrying the box with the owl in it felt light as a feather. When I opened the box and tipped it on its side – after some long pauses and curious wide-eyed looks around, it didn’t walk out, it swooped out without even a running start!”

Thanks again to the alert and caring students at Chaminade and to our volunteers who are able to assist with returning these wild creatures back where they belong.