Great Horned Owl saved in Center Park

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Friday, August 31, 2018 - 11:41am

Perry Stolt, Town of Perinton Animal Control Officer, has seen some pretty wild animal events in his 15 years of working for the Town of Perinton, however, he says none have been more interesting than what he dealt with on Wednesday (August 29) at Center Park West.

Stolt received a call to help free a hawk from a soccer net. As it turns out the hawk was actually a Great Horned Owl.

“We have lots of sick and injured hawks that we save, but this was the first Great Horned Owl,” Stolt said. “I got him out without hurting him and when I tossed him up to fly away it was like something out of a movie.”

Stolt worked for 20 minutes to get the owl out before deciding he had to cut the net to free the bird. The owl had probably been struggling in the net most of the night because Stolt said it did not have much fight in him while he freed it.

The timing on the trapped owl was ironic as the Town of Perinton Parks Department has been partnering with Crescent Trail official Mark Burgeson to install owl nesting boxes in place around the parks in town. Center Park is the first park they planned on placing one.

The Eastern Screech Owl and the Barred Owl inhabit the Crescent Trail system in Perinton year round. The population has dwindled in the past few years due to a decrease in their nesting area. By providing artificial nesting boxes, it should help ensure the owls have adequate nesting locations and also increase chances that the owls will stay in the area.

These same nesting boxes are ideal for other raptors such as the American Kestrel, which has been on the decline in recent years.