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The Lucky Owl: A Rescue Story

Owl rescue in action! On April 15, 2023 our TerraCorps Stewardship Coordinator Cal Murphy found an injured barred owl at Kestrel’s headquarters. Fortunately for this owl, our staff and board includes two expert bird handlers.

Chris Volonte, Stewardship Director, and Anthony Hill, board member, headed over to our Bay Road office on the Mount Holyoke Range, and were able to locate the bird based on Cal’s description of where it was headed. With a small group of helpers and a little luck, they were able to safely get the owl into a pet carrier. Chris drove the owl up to Tom Ricardi’s Birds of Prey Rehabilitation Center in Conway, where many kinds of raptors, including snowy owls, bald eagles, turkey vultures, hawks, and others are expertly rehabilitated.

While this barred owl was undernourished, Tom said the broken wing didn’t look too serious and he brought the bird to his experienced wildlife veterinarian for treatment. Early the following week, we were glad to hear from Tom that “our” owl was eating well.

Its wing was not broken but had a strain or muscle tear, making it incapable of flying—or hunting. If Cal had not spotted it and called for rescue, the owl would certainly have starved to death. The wing was bandaged up and the barred owl spent the next three months recuperating in a large enclosure with three other barred owls under Tom’s care for rehabilitation.

Now that this very lucky barred owl is healed and strong enough to return to the wild, Tom will be bringing it back to Kestrel’s headquarters where the owl was found. Join us to witness its release and learn more about owls and other raptors during a special event on July 22.

A big thanks to Tom Ricardi not only for doing this rare and important work of rehabbing raptors, but also for sharing his knowledge with our community through his fascinating presentations.

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