It's a Great Day to Bird

Sauvie Island and the daring rescue

Okay today I am going out of sequence in our travels with this special blog posting.  We spent a week or so in eastern Oregon and I am slowly working on that blog (boy do they take a lot of time).  However, today we went to Sauvie Island and got to rescue a juvenile Great Horned Owl.

Today’s blog will only be about that rescue and not the great birding we experienced on the island before the rescue – that will come later (think a week or two from now).

So what happened?  We were driving along NW Sauvie Island Rd (Sauvie Island is near Portland, located between the Columbia and Willamette Rivers) when I spotted a dark object in the grass – thinking it was a cat.  Driving alongside the object I saw what is a Great Horned Owl.  This bird was small so I suspect a hatch year (Juvenile) bird.  I told Jack to turn around so I could get a photo of the bird in the grass.  We suspected something was wrong because you usually don’t see owls in the grass unless they’ve just killed something and Great Horned Owls hunt at night so ….

We watched the owl for a few minutes.  You could tell it was nervous.  The owl then hopped away from us dragging its right wing.  I decided then to call the Audubon Society of Portland’s (ASP) Wild Care Center.  We drove a short distance away to get off the narrow dike road as there are signs every 100 feet or so telling you not to stop or park along the road.  Once stopped, I called the Wild Care Center.  They wanted us to capture the owl and bring it in.  I wasn’t sure how we were going to do that as the owl was on private property and we didn’t have anything in our van in which to transport an injured owl.  We drove to the house we suspected was associated with the land where the owl was located.  Jack went to the door and talked with Devin, owner of Turnstone Environmental Consultants.  How fortuitous.  Devin agreed to help capture the owl.  He got a tub to put the owl in, a towel to throw over the owl, and gloves to protect his hands – most important.  Thank you Devin.

We walked out to the field where the owl was sitting.  In a matter of minutes (probably no more than 2-3) the owl was captured, but not before trying to hop away.  Devin put the owl into the tub and off we went to the ASP’s Wild Care Center to deliver the owl.  We were given an intake number so we can call and check on the status of the owl.  We will do that tomorrow after the owl has been checked out by volunteers at the center.


Great Horned Owl


This was after he moved away from our vehicle. He was not happy with us.

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I used a great app called Theodolite to send an email to the Audubon Society of Portland with the lat/long coordinates for the owl’s location. This is a great tool for notifying the Alaska Sealife Center about dead or stranded sea otters on Alaska’s beaches.


The owl in the plastic tub.

We hope for a quick and full recovery for the owl.

It’s A Great Day to Bird


1 Comment

  1. Nina Faust

    Way to go Michelle and Jack!

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