GOOD NEWS: Athens Police Department rescues baby owl named Oswald

Athens Police rescue baby that snaps and eats mice

Athens police rescued a baby this week that blinks a random eye, tends to snap and eats mice.

Animal control officer Ty Barrett responded to a call in the South Hine Street area where a resident found a baby great horned owl that had either fallen or been pushed from its nest. The resident was concerned neighborhood dogs or other predators might kill the owl.

Barrett, wearing long leather gloves, captured the owl, which he named Oswald, or Ozzie for short. He captured it on Wednesday, March 11.

The Athens-Limestone Animal Shelter gave Barrett a stuffed animal, a monkey, which he placed in Oswald’s container.

“Now if you try to take the stuffed animal away from him, he gets upset,” Barrett said.

Barrett has been feeding Oswald mice.

A rescue group plans to meet Barrett Saturday, March 14, to get Oswald. Although he does not have any obvious injuries, the rescue group with evaluate him and work to train him in hopes he can be released into the wild once he learns to fly and capture his own prey.

According to the Audubon Society, great horned owls are found almost throughout North America and much of South America. Aggressive and powerful in its hunting, it takes prey as varied as rabbits, hawks, snakes, and even skunks, and will even attack porcupines, often with fatal results for both prey and predator. Great Horned Owls begin nesting very early in the north, and their deep hoots may be heard rolling across the forest on mid-winter nights.

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