VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- An owl is recovering from a bruised foot after the bird got caught up in netting and dangled upside down from a tree.
A mother was with her daughter at a bus stop in the 1900 block of Blue Knob Rd. when the mother spotted a Great Horned Owl hanging upside down by a foot in a pine tree.
“We heard a bunch of squawking,” said Ashlynn Jackson.
Another neighbor came outside and said he remembered seeing the owl in the same tree the night before.
“And he was upside down now instead of right-side up so we thought there might have been a problem,” said the neighbor.
Tommy Whitehawk, of Alton's Keep Wildbird Rescue and Rehabilitation Center was called to the scene.
He believes the owl was in the process of migrating, when he got tangled up in some landscape netting from a nearby canal.
“He obviously went down and got a rodent and brought that netting up with him to the tree,” said Whitehawk.
This bird needed a hero, with a 40-foot ladder. Whooooo better to call than the Virginia Beach Fire Department.
Crews from Engine 19 and Ladder 10 were able to remove the owl. Whitehawk said he guided them because the owls can be dangerous.
“I told him to go up, and be very still, be very slow in movements and actually talk to the owl and tell him what you’re doing,” said Whitehawk.
Within minutes the owl was in Whitehawk’s arms. This bird’s feathers were ruffled enough for one day.
“He was exhausted from hanging there and he was ready to be rescued and ready to go to sleep,” said Whitehawk.
After taking X-rays it was determined he suffered a bruised left foot but no broken bones. He is already being nursed back to health by Whitehawk, who hopes after a week of medication and rest the bird will be strong enough to be released back into the wild.
As for the neighborhood, they said the event turned out to be a real hoot.