West Hartford Police, Animal Control, and a wildlife rehabilitation center worked together to rescue the owl. [Updated, 4:40 p.m.]
By Ronni Newton
Amid the children’s games stored on the shelf of a West Hartford home last week, a small screech owl was perched.
A real owl; not a stuffed owl.
West Hartford Police shared on their Facebook page that Ofc. Jacqueline Twiss worked with Animal Control Officer Kimberly Gulino and a representative from the wildlife rehabilitation center A Place Called Hope to rescue the owl.
Police did not indicate how the owl had gotten into the house, or when it was found by the residents, but said it was safely captured and has been rehabilitated by the rescue.
The nature of any injuries the owl might have sustained was not disclosed, however police said on Facebook early Sunday afternoon: “As of this post, the owl is doing great and said to be released shortly!”
A Place Called Hope is a nonprofit, volunteer-run organization located in Killingworth, CT, and was created by wildlife rehabilitates for the purpose of caring for “injured, orphaned, sick or non-releasable Birds of Prey,” their Facebook page states.
Early Monday afternoon, Christine Cummings, a representative from A Place Called Hope, responded to a message from We-Ha.com with additional information about the Eastern Screech Owl that had been rescued.
“The bird is actually doing excellent and was only just a little bit lethargic and dehydrated,” she said in a voicemail message. It was found in the basement of the West Hartford home, she said, and no one knew how long it had been there.
The owl had been kept indoors due to the extremely cold weather, but on Monday, the owl was placed outdoors in an aviary, where it will spend anywhere from one to three days, she said, “depending on navigation of the perches and finding food out there.”
Then the owl will be going home. “Hopefully the homeowners will be working on a chimney cap if they don’t have one,” she added.
In a follow up phone conversation, Cummings said that “home” means its territory. “Our goal is to get them fixed and back to where they belong,” she said, which in this case is West Hartford.
A few details she shared about the Eastern Screech Owl is that it is the second-smallest owl; only the Northern Saw-whet Owl is smaller. Screech owls come in two colors, she said: red, and gray. The latter is the color of the owl found in the West Hartford home.
Eastern Screech Owls are “cavity nesters,” Cummings said, but this is not nesting season. When one finds a way to enter a home, it’s generally through a chimney or furnace stack.
Cummings said the owl was “making up for lost time” and eating plenty on Monday. When the owl is returned to West Hartford, their volunteer will involve Animal Control Officer Gulino, she said, and it will be released around dusk.
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