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A Barn Owl’s Sad End

January 10, 2011

One of San Francisco’s ace birders, Dominik Mosur, works at San Francisco’s Randall Museum, and occasionally gets calls from people finding birds in distress. On this occasion, it was worse than distress. The barn owl in a pine tree at the Mission High School was dead. The bird had lived around there for some months, hunting and perching.  Now it was dead.

Photo credit: Dominik Mosur

He retrieved the body and found the cause of death. Some netting, possibly from a Christmas tree, had caught on the owl’s foot, and snagged on a branch, trapping it.

This is a message to please think about discarded materials  — particularly things like plastic netting, fishing line, or six-pack holders. If this had been rope, maybe the bird could have bitten through it and escaped. With plastic, there was no way.

According to Rebecca Dmytryk of WildRescue, a wildlife rescue organization in Moss Beach:

“Sadly, this sort of accident is not unusual. Birds can become tangled in discarded fishing line, kite string, or netting, then the material catches on a branch and then they’re stuck, sometimes hanging upside down. The worst part about this story though, is that no one knew it was in trouble I guess, and it starved to death.”

A press release on the subject said:

Dmytryk hopes this story will prompt people to be more vigilant and quicker to report wild animals in distress. If they do not know whom to call they can use Wildrescue’s toll-free hotline that will provide the number to the nearest rescue organization – that’s 1-866-WILD-911. They can also report injured wildlife directly to rescue@wildrescue.org or paging a rescue team at 831-429-2323.

Anyone interested in learning more about what to do when they find an injured wild animal may be interested in attending their Wildlife Search & Rescue class being given in coming weeks.

Learn what to do when you come face to face with a wild animal that’s in trouble and needs help. Learn how to become part of a team of trained and qualified rescuers who respond to emergencies involving wildlife on a regular basis. This class is the ONLY one of its kind and is tailored for those who work with animals and want to better their skills and those who have an interest in becoming a volunteer wildlife rescuer.

The lecture part of the class covers laws and regulations governing wildlife rescue, human safety and animal safety concerns, capture strategies, proper animal handling techniques, basic first aid for wildlife accident victims, and initial care of healthy wild babies. The afternoon portion of the program gives students the opportunity to try out equipment and practice their skills with Robo-Duck.
To REGISTER :  w i l d r e s c u e . o r g (831) 840-3896 rebecca@wildrescue.org

ALAMEDA:  FEBRUARY 5, 9:00 – 3:00, Shorebird Nature Center, 160 University Ave. Berkeley
SANTA CLARA: JANUARY 28, 9:00 – 3:00, Morgan Hill PD, 16200 Vineyard Blvd. Morgan Hill
MONTEREY:  JANUARY 15, 9:00 – 3:00 Elkhorn Yacht Club, 2370 Highway 1 Moss Landing
SANTA CRUZ: JANUARY 29, 9:00 – 3:00, Santa Cruz PD, 155 Center Street,Santa Cruz

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