Since owls don't play soccer why don't we all agree to take down our soccer nets at night. For what its worth they don't play badminton or volleyball either. The nets are a hazard to owls who hunt at night. Their amazing hearing allows them to track their prey but they don't see the nets.
Earlier this evening we got a call from Oswego where a Great Horned Owl had gotten trapped in a net in an open field. Vince and his family had spent the better part of the day trying to find someone to help. They think the owl might have been trapped since last night. He called the police, trapping services and other rehab facilities and no one could help or was willing to go to Oswego to save the owl. By the time we got the call he was running out of places to call.
Fortunately, Vince didn't give up and we were able to help. When I got there, Vince and his son took me out to an open field behind their house. At the base of the net was a Great Horned Owl completely entangled in the net. Next to owl was his dinner a big old rabbit. It looked as though the Great Horned Owl had just caught the rabbit and hit the net trying to get away with dinner. The owl was not happy to see us, even if we were there to help. I cut the owl from the net and put him a box to transport back the Barrington facility to remove the tangled netting and receive medical care.
At the Barrington Facility, Dawn removed the tangled netting, did an assessment and treated the owl for dehydration. She will evaluate the owl later today after it has time to calm down. Hopefully we will be able to return it back to the wild quickly. Its breeding season for Great Horned Owls and we don't know if this one has a mate.
So please think about the hazards that are up in yards, parks and schools. If you need to leave the nets out at least lay them down so its less likely anything will fly into them. This owl may have been lucky it was stuck but not hanging upside down and he didn't become dinner.
Thanks Vince for not giving up!!