He gives a hoot by taking in owls
Article Date: 2007-11-19 Source: http://www.telegram.com
By George Barnes
Athol, Massachusetts, U.S.A. - It's a hoot to visit Bob Coyle's house in normal circumstances, with his scientific collections and the knowledge he willingly imparts. But this weekend, visitors got a double dose of hoot from two injured barred owls he is caring for.
Mr. Coyle, a retired science teacher and treasurer of the Athol Bird and Nature
Club, is sharing his garage on Chestnut Hill Avenue with two barred owls he has
named Primo and Segundo. The injured birds were found at different times on
roadsides and brought to his house.
Primo, as its name implies, was the first to arrive at Mr. Coyle's home, brought there on Wednesday by a woman from Orange, who found it on the side of Route 2.
"Crows were attacking it," he said.
Mr. Coyle is a wildlife rehabilitator. He said he believes Primo was struck by a car, although the only real sign of ill health the large bird displays is a
complete lack of appetite.
"He won't eat a thing," Mr. Coyle said of the bird, which at the time was perched on top of a cabinet, intently observing visitors to its temporary home.
Other than that, the bird appears healthy and has taken to flying around
occasionally inside Mr. Coyle's garage. About 10 inches tall, the bird kept its
eyes on the three people in the garage, turning its head only to follow anyone
"I'll probably release it pretty soon," Mr. Coyle said.
The unwillingness to eat, he said, may be normal behavior.
"Some of the birds are picky eaters," he said.
Mr. Coyle said that when Primo arrived at his house it was not doing well, and
at one point it lay down and everyone there thought it was dead. A short time
later the bird was standing and now appears to be fully recovered.
Segundo is just the opposite. The bird does not look well. It is keeping one eye
closed and its feathers are askew, but its appetite is more than healthy. It is
eating voraciously, chomping down every piece of chicken offered to it, and even
a mouse a neighbor brought that had first been rejected by Primo.
Segundo was found by Athol Police Sgt. Kent Hager on Saturday. Sgt. Hager had
earlier visited Mr. Coyle to see Primo. Later, driving on Chestnut Hill Road
just north of Mr. Coyle's house, he saw Segundo standing in the road. Thinking
Mr. Coyle had released Primo, he just moved the bird out of the road. But Primo
was still in the garage.
When Sgt. Hager learned there was a second owl, he headed back up the street
looking for it. The bird was already gone, but in safe hands. A woman who lives
nearby found the bird and took it to Mr. Coyle, who put it in a cage in his
Segundo is being kept in the cage until it is able to fly. If the bird recovers
its ability to fly it, too, will likely be returned to the wild.
Meanwhile, the birds have become a local attraction.
Mr. Coyle said he spent two hours trying to finish his laundry between calls
from people interested in the birds and friends stopping by to see the noble
Yesterday afternoon, Peter and Roberta Newman of Royalston were among the
visitors to Mr. Coyle's impromptu zoo.
As she stroked Segundo on the back, Mrs. Newman said she saw an owl recently
nearby standing on a lawn of a house on Chestnut Hill Avenue, but she was not
sure if it was Segundo.
Mr. Coyle said the owls may have been injured when they flew down to catch prey
running along the road and were unable to get out of the way of oncoming cars.
He said many barred owls in the area have been hit by cars recently and injured
like Primo and Segundo or killed.
He said he is not sure why it is happening, but that it may be a regional
He said Tom Ricardi of Conway, owner of the Bird of Prey wildlife facility, told
him he has nine injured barred owls he found or that people brought in for him
to care for.
Disclaimer: This article has been reproduced from http://www.telegram.com and placed here for comment.
OwlPages.com is not responsible for the accuracy of any information in this article, and does not necessarily agree with the author's opinions.
2006-02-22 - Owl stares down pussycat in tense front-yard confrontation by George Barnes - Athol, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
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