A San Anselmo family all had big grins on their faces Thursday evening as they watched the Great Horned Owl they helped rescue return to the wild after spending a few weeks recovering from injuries at Wildcare in San Rafael.
The owl was rescued on Nov. 17 after the Naish family noticed it hadn’t moved in three days, even when attacked by crows. See 8-year-old Ella Naish, who first spotted the bird, tell her story in a video above.
The family, which lives on Oak Springs Drive, called the Marin Humane Society, which then reached out to WildCare for assistance.
Volunteer Jim Cairnes then climbed 40 feet high during the rainy night and found that the owl had a fish hook and line that speared its wing and was holding it to the tree branch, center officials said.
Cairnes managed to cut the owl free and a Marin Humane Society officer transported it to the WildCare facility for emergency care.
The center's director of animal care, Melanie Piazza, found that no significant damage had been done to the male bird's wing and safely removed the hook from it. However, the juvenile male owl had not eaten for three days and had a hole in the fold of skin in front of a bird’s wing.
Piazza said Great Horned Owls are fairly common in Marin and mainly eat skunks and other rodents.
Before and after the release, Wildcare staff stressed the importance of properly discarding of fishing line and not setting poisons and traps for other species because they could have unintended consequences for other animals, such as owls.
WildCare has developed a Fishing LineRecycling Program.