SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — An Barred Owl found yesterday at the Holyoke Health Center is safe after being rescued by animal control from the Holyoke health Center Thursday. But the bird of prey wasn’t rescued by animal control because it was a danger to people. It was rescued because people were a danger to it.
For the creature who prefers the night, the barred owl found himself in a spotlight. Perched about 15 feet up on the building, people showed up throughout Thursday to catch a glimpse of it.
“It’s not uncommon to have them be in these areas,” said Erick Velez, Animal Control Officer at the T.J. O’Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center. “It’s probably uncommon for the people to have noticed him.”
Velez said Barred Owls feed on small animals like mice and squirrels which are abundant in the area. So why did he find himself having to rescue it from its natural habitat?
“We had reports of people throwing stuff at him and swooshing a broom at him, swiping a broom at,” said Velez. “I feared for his safety throughout the night.”
“He just kind of looked at me and until I put the net over him and brought him, he kind of wigged out a little bit,” said Velez. “I put a blanket over him to keep him calm.”
Velez said the owl appears to be in good health with no injuries. For those who come across a Barred Owl in the future, Velez says to let them be.
“If anything was to have happen to him, it would really be very sad,” he said.
T.J. O’Connor is working with Massachusetts Environmental police and a local bird of prey expert on how and where to reintroduce the owl back into the wild.