Homeowner frees trapped owl from chimney — then it flies straight into glue trap

A crack in a capped chimney led to an owl getting stuck inside a Virginia home — so the owner tried to take matters into their own hands.

A Rockingham County resident found an eastern screech owl in their chimney Dec. 2 that couldn’t escape on its own, the Wildlife Center of Virginia said in a Jan. 11 news release. So, the homeowner stepped in to help the owl.

They got the owl out of the chimney and it flew into another room, the center said.

Then, it collided with a glue trap and was unable to free itself from the sticky strip, according to the organization.

“Talk about a bad break!” the rescue said in its Jan. 19 Facebook post.

A variety of animals can get stuck in glue traps — not just the bugs people intend to trap, according to the center. They can be dangerous because if an animal doesn’t quickly get rescued, it could have a “slow and painful death,” the organization said.

“Remember, glue traps do not discriminate!” the center wrote in its Facebook post.

The owl was taken by a rescuer to the Wildlife Center of Virginia so it could be checked by veterinary staff, according to the organization. When the owl arrived, vets started a careful procedure to ensure it could fly again.

To remove the sticky residue from the glue traps, staff used mineral oil to rub it away, the center said.

For owls, one of the most important parts to maintain is their feathers, as many rely on silent flight to hunt their prey at night, according to the organization. So when the center’s staff was checking the owl, they had to take a thorough look at its feathers to make sure they weren’t too damaged.

The owl had to be put under anesthesia for its exam, according to the center. Officials found no serious injuries from the time it was trapped in the chimney or glue trap, but there was some lead in the owl’s system.

From there, the veterinarians gave the owl a gentle bath to clean off more glue.

Once the owl had been fully cleaned, the center’s staff blow-dried the bird and placed it in an incubator so it could get warm, the organization said.

The owl spent the rest of its time at the center going through its recovery process: taking another bath, exercising daily and receiving chelation therapy, which involves injections to clean out metals from a bird’s blood, according to the rescue.

Regaining its strength wasn’t a long process for the owl, the center said. By Jan. 11, the bird was cleared for release and was returned to the wild near its rescuer’s property.

Rockingham County is about 130 miles northwest of Richmond.

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