Operation Owl Rescue: ‘You’ll never know WHOO you will meet on campus’


Operation Owl Rescue is a success. Photo by Rick Keller Scholz

Operation Owl Rescue is a success. Photo by Rick Keller Scholz

On July 18, Religion teacher Rick Keller Scholz and his student summer workstudy crew made a startling discovery. Below are email exchanges to the faculty/staff.

“The crew and I found this Great Horned Owl early one July morning entangled in the netting out by the batting cages near the varsity baseball diamond. It must have been out hunting(rabbits?) and misjudged the critter. It seemed quite ‘put out’ by the episode judging by its expression. We contacted a Wild Bird sanctuary in Olympia. After they told us how to extricate the owl from the netting(throw a towel over its head, cut it out the netting and set it a covered box) they said they’d be out to get it. They did! It is now recuperating at Raindancer Wild Bird Rescue; they will contact me when the bird(a year and half male they say) is strong enough to fly again(its wings were quite stressed for the ordeal apparently) and will set him free from whence he got stuck. We think we heard its mate calling for him later that same day! The students were awesome as they worked together to calm the bird and cut away the netting so they could safely handle him. They guy from Raindancer said if we hadn’t have acted so promptly the crows probably would’ve got him.”

On August 1, Stephanie Estrella from the Raindancer Wild Bird Rescue reported back to Keller Scholz, “The owl is doing well. He had some feather damage and was sore, so he spent some time in cage rest. I then flight tested him and saw a substantial improvement in his flight. I usually flight condition owls myself, but my enclosures are being used by juvenile ravens and crows and I didn’t want the owl to wait around that long so I sent him to West Sound Wildlife Shelter on Bainbridge Island for conditioning since they have the room. I’ve let them know that you would like to be kept in the loop for the owl’s release, but you may want to contact them too.”

Keller Scholz’s final update is today, Sunday, Aug. 19. “As many of you know, one of my fine summer workstudy crews was involved in an owl rescue this past July. I just received word from the wild bird sanctuary where the bird has been rehabbing that they are ready to release him back to the wild! So, if you’re able to join us for the owl release, here’s our plan: Let’s meet in front of Orton Hall at 8 p.m. [this] Sunday evening. We’ll then head out to the back of the baseball field where we found the owl and then give him back to the woods. Another great part of this story is that it turns out that a Bellarmine grad, Sarah Rash Vine, has been working with the wild bird sanctuary group that has taken on this project. She’ll be on hand for the release and to answer any questions you might have about her work and about this particular owl’s recovery.”