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Three owls had to be rescued from a San Francisco roller rink back in February. The curious owls were discovered inside the Church of 8 Wheels, a former church that is now a San Francisco roller skating rink. A video was posted to Facebook showing the owls, who appeared to be enjoying and dancing along to the music.
“I just couldn’t believe what I was looking at then when I saw him land, he landed next to another owl; they had perched themselves right near the DJ booth. It was amazing,” said David Miles of Church of 8 Wheels.
Members of the non-profit WildCare Wildlife Hospital saw the video and stepped in to help transport the owls to a safer location. While it seemed as though the owls were dancing along to the music and enjoying themselves, team members of WildCare Wildlife Hospital explained that this could not be further from the truth.
“That is not an animal dancing or enjoying himself. That’s a very stressed wild animal trying to use his senses and triangulate and figure out what is happening,” said Alison Hermance, WildCare Director of Communications.
The team at WildCare teamed up with someone at Bay Raptor Rescue to catch the two owls who had likely been scared and hiding near the high ceilings inside the roller rink for approximately 5 to 7 days. The team discovered holes within the stained glass windows in the church, where they think the owls most likely entered from. Bay Raptor Rescue temporarily boarded up the holes in the glass to prevent other owls from unintentionally putting themselves in harm’s way.
“They will really enthusiastically investigate anything that looks like a hole that could be a potential nesting sight and for these birds, the problem was it didn’t go to a nesting site, it went to a roller skating rink,” said Hermance.
The three poor owls were immediately put in an oxygen incubator and administered IV fluids and feeding tubes at the WildCare facility in San Rafael. Everyone involved was heartbroken when one of the two birds passed away within the 48 hours following the rescue mission.
Despite the sad news, the two remaining owls gained their strength throughout the next couple of weeks and were released atop the building where an owl house was constructed. The house sits right under the old church bell and a spot where the owls can easily search for rodents.
If you ever come across a sick or injured owl, odds are it is already in really bad shape. Click here for a listing of wildlife rehabilitators across the United States. Even if you are unable to transport the owl to the closest rehabilitator, call the rehabilitator anyway. Many rehabilitators have a network of people who will pick up and transport birds for them, says International Owl Center.
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