Owl In A Day’s Work


See April 10 update!

Ryan Kruljac - Longwood GardensSometimes tree service becomes owl rescue service. Contract climber Ryan Kruljac was working with an Arborist Enterprises crew at Longwood Gardens recently when he moved a piece of ornamental stovepipe from a garden beneath a cherry tree to protect it from damage.

“I picked it up out of the snow and this screech owl was staring up at me,” says Kruljac. “I said, oh, this little guy’s in bad shape.”

The owl made no effort to evade the human. In fact, Kruljac says, his tail feathers were frozen to the ground. “He was very, very weak.”

What am I going to do with an owl, Kruljac wondered. Luckily, Bethany, a student at Longwood, was nearby potting plants that day, and Kruljac was able to ask her for help. After they wrapped the baby owl in a spare t-shirt, Bethany took it to Longwood’s wildlife manager, who then drove the bird down to Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research in Newark, Delaware.

“It was clear to me he was struggling to stay alive at that point,” says Kruljac. Half a week later, the news is good. “I got an update the other day. He may lose a little skin from his feet, but he should make a full recovery. When he does, they plan to release him at the nursery area of Longwood.”

Photo courtesy Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research

Photo courtesy Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research

Update April 10, 2014

What a difference a month’s rehab makes!

We’re pleased to report that the baby eastern screech owl found by one of our technicians last month was released at Longwood gardens after a month-long rehabilitation at Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research. When it arrived, it was underweight and had some lacerations and abrasions. Their staff cleaned the bird’s wounds, gave it antibiotics and pain medication, and monitored it for signs of frostbite. The little owl improved rapidly and looks much better in a photo taken just before its release.