Elkins Owl Rescue

Family finds bird trapped in pond

Submitted photos ‘Bard,’ a barred owl who was discovered trapped in a pond by an Elkins family, is shown after being cared for and fully recovering.

ELKINS — Thanks to the quick response of a Randolph County family, a barred owl has been returned to its normal life after being rescued from a dire situation.

It was the early morning of June 5 when an Elkins family spotted an adult male owl struggling and trapped in a pond just outside their home. The owl was submerged in the water and was entangled in a string that was suspended over the pond.

The owl’s wing was tangled up in the string and the bird was exhausted from trying to get free. The family was not sure how long it had been in the pond, so it’s possible it could have been trapped throughout the night.

Members of the family were able to free the owl, fishing him out of the water after carefully cutting the string that was around one of his wings. The owl was in need of medical care so the family called Randolph County 911, which put them in contact with the Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia.

Jo Santiago was notified and responded to the call. Santiago is a raptor specialist and rescue volunteer who has saved may area birds from demise. Santiago arrived to find the owl in a cardboard box lined with soft towels. She knew right away the owl was suffering from hypothermia, so she administered an electrolyte solution and sat with the bird in the warm sun.

The owl is shown after being rescued from the pond, where one of his wings was entangled in string.

The next morning, rescue assistant Dylan Lewis took the owl to Morgantown to see Dr. Jesse Fallon, who is a raptor specialist for the ACCA. Fallon found the bird to be underweight, weak and with some damaged feathers, but other than that he had no issues.

After a week’s stay with Fallon, the owl was driven back to his home territory and released by Amy Hill, an ACCA rescue volunteer. Upon his release, Bard, which the family had named the owl, soared across an open field and into the woods, where he perched atop a tree.

“Things couldn’t have gone any better,” Santiago said. “Bard was home thanks to the family that took immediate action, Randolph County 911, and Dr. Fallon and the ACCA.”


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