Hedwig the Barn Owl's Rescue

Animals Rescue Wildlife Wildlife ER Posted Feb 15, 2023
In a race against time to capture an elusive Barn owl stuck in a warehouse, a coordinated team effort is needed.

A barn owl was trapped for two nights in a Brisbane factory. Despite the workers’ best efforts, the owl just could not find a way to escape. Wanting to help the poor raptor, they made a plea for help to the RSPCA’s 1300 ANIMAL Contact Centre.

RSPCA Rescue Officers Jo and Chantelle were despatched to the Brisbane warehouse. They brought along their trusty netguns and dedicated rescue volunteer Nikki to help. This is the third time the Rescue Team had tried to set the elusive barn owl free.

With the assistance of the workers who made the call, they set to work luring the little barn owl into a location where they can capture the bird in a net, fired from an air powered net launcher.

Finally, their hard work pays off and the weighted net pulled the little owl to the ground, trapping him long enough for Jo to grab him and safely restrain him in a transport enclosure

The barn owl, affectionately named Hedwig, was transported to the RSPCA Wildlife Hospital for a vet check over. Wildlife Vet Meaghan inspected the bird for any wing issues or trauma and checked its vitals such as heart, lungs and eyes. Although pleased with what she sees, she expresses concern around the knowledge the owl spent so long in the baited warehouse. 

After a few days of monitoring by vet nurses, a flight test and another vet check, the barn owl was looking bright and desperate to fly back out into the wild. Thankfully, the test results gave Hedwig the all clear to be released back into the wild. 

A wildlife hospital volunteer returned the little bird back to Hogwarts (actually the warehouse where he was found), except this time with the security of clear blue skies above him.

You can watch Wildlife ER on SBS Australia from February 8 at 7:30pm and SBS On Demand - enjoy watching our team go above and beyond with animal rescues, wildlife receiving treatment our hospital, the rehabilitation journey, and wildlife being released back into the wild.

These types of rescues are a regular occurrence for the RSPCA Rescue Team. RSPCA Queensland takes calls for wildlife of all shapes and sizes 24 hours a day, all year round. We rely on your generous donations to keep our rescue units on the road and our hospital running.

Tip: If you see an owl or any bird trapped in a building, try luring them to the floor with food. Sometimes they figure out how to get out the open door by themselves. If they stay up high which is their instinct, they never find the door.

Peter Wilson
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