ADAMS, Mass. — Some Good Samaritans saved a barred owl from certain death Friday at the Greylock Glen.
Paula St. Pierre Piacenti was hiking at the Glen shortly before sunset when she found the owl on the ground. The young bird attempted to fly away but was so weak and emaciated that he couldn't. Piacenti called John Marran, a local photographer and bird watcher, for help.
"He was in pretty bad shape," Marran said on Wednesday of the small owl who he estimates to be about a year old.
Marran, his girlfriend, Julie Preite Ryan, and Piacenti searched for a veterinarian to treat him and found the Berkshire Bird Paradise in Petersburgh, N.Y. Workers there told him to keep the owl overnight and bring it in the morning.
Marran wrapped the owl in a towel, and put him in a box, and later put the bird in a dog crate to keep him contained overnight.
"I gently scooped him up and he was so light it was like picking up a balloon," Marran said. "I've never handled one before. I've photographed them quite a bit ... it was pretty exciting."
On Saturday morning, Ryan and Marran rushed out to Petersburgh, where the owl, which they named Glenn, was placed under the care of experts. The sanctuary has been caring for injured birds for 40 years.
Glenn had to be force-fed at first but when Marran called Tuesday check, the owl had begun eating on his own.
"He's doing pretty good. He's eating well and getting stronger and healthy," Marran said. "Hopefully, he can be released in a few weeks."
If Glenn continues to become healthy, Bird Paradise will release him back into the wild.
Glenn was lucky. A couple who also had found a sickly barred owl dropped it off at the same time Marran delivered Glenn. That owl has died.
Marran said he isn't sure what caused the owls to become so weak but competition for food this time of the year is the likely culprit.