When Laura Burban received a call about an owl refusing to leave the middle of a busy road, she knew the situation was serious. It’s not uncommon to spot owls in its coastal town of Branford, Connecticut, but these beloved birds of prey are usually sighted from afar.
“As people approached, whether with vehicles or on foot, the owl would spread its wings,” said Ms Burban, director of animal shelter Dan Cosgrove. “But he was not taking off”.
At first, Burban considered the possibility that he could just grab something and stop to eat it in the middle of the road. But as soon as she saw the barred owl in person, she knew he needed help.
“Once there, we could see that the owl had an injured wing,” says Ms Burban. It turned around and raised its claws in the air as if to say: “Don’t touch me”.
Although he was skeptical, capturing the owl wouldn’t be physically difficult since the bird was flightless.
“I tried to get him to look at the other animal control officer who was with me,” Burban said. “She was trying to do everything in her power to get his attention, but he just wouldn’t let go of my gaze. He knew I was coming for him.”
Eventually, Burban was able to cover the owl with the towel, which instantly improved the bird’s stress level.
“Once the towel was on him, he completely relaxed,” Ms Burban said.
Ms Burban and her team carefully lifted the owl off the ground and loaded it into their van. They took him to a wildlife rehabilitation center called A Place Called Hope, where they ran some tests on his wings to find out what was wrong.
“He has a pretty serious fracture near his wrist,” Burban said. “The vet said it’s not something that can be fixed surgically, so they’ll wrap it up and then wait and see.”
A few weeks have passed since the rescue of the owl, but so far she is recovering well. His fracture is almost healed and, after some physiotherapy, his carers are confident that he will be ready to be released back into his natural habitat.
The inhabitants of the neighborhood are also delighted to welcome this owl to their neighborhood. Days after the rescue, Mr Burban received a call from James Cosgrove, first councilman and grandson of the shelter’s namesake.
He said, “I’m calling for my owl! Everyone in the neighborhood is asking about the owl and wondering if she’s going to be okay.”
Dan Cosgrove went on to tell Burban that the owl has been in the neighborhood for years and neighbors have seen it grow.
“Everyone knows him,” Burban says. He’s kind of like a famous owl there, like the mayor of the neighborhood.
Mr Cosgrove was relieved to hear that the owl was doing well and would be returning home shortly. He surely shares that sentiment with his neighbors who can’t wait to see their beloved avian “mayor” flying around the neighborhood again.