This past Sunday, June 18th, three boys were riding their bikes over to a small pond, located at the back of a new housing development under construction, to look for frogs. A lot of the underground work for the development had been done and only the curbing for the streets had been put in, no actual homes yet. Back by the pond were 14-inch wide pipes put into the ground about 3-4 feet deep.
One of the boys happened to find a frog stuck at the bottom of one of these pipes and they started looking for something to get the frog out with. While looking they heard a noise coming from another in-ground pipe and went over to check it out. Inside of this one was no frog.
They saw two brilliant yellow eyes looking back up at them. It was an owl, a big one and too big to fully open his wings to fly up and out of the pipe. Also, the pipe was too deep for him to try to jump out. Concerned, the boys called their dad and then the police. When the police couldnít find anything to help free the owl, they called Popcorn Park.
Given the heat and the sun beating down on the pipe we rushed there, bringing with us some gloves and a towel. Sure enough there was a fledgling Great Horned owl stuck at the bottom of the pipe. He was just out of reach of our veterinarianís glove. He wasnít too happy with us and as the glove got close he reached out and attacked it with his talons, holding on just long enough to pull him out to safety.
We donít know how long he was down there but he was very thin and pretty dehydrated. Weíre so thankful these young guys were at the right place at the right time and cared enough to reach out for help. If they hadnít found him, he would have been trapped in the pipe to die from heat and starvation.
It was a little late in the day after the owl was rescued so we brought him home, treated him with fluids for dehydration and let him rest.
Later we tried feeding him some thawed out frozen mice, it took some time but once he got the hang of what we were doing he ate 6 of them!
Bright eyed and feeling a lot better we brought him to Toms River Avian Care the next morning to join another owl we brought there last month and four others, where they will be cared for until their release later on this summer. Calls were made yesterday to the construction company to cap these deadly pipes.