Council Bluffs man rescues baby owl stuck in tree for several hours

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Ed Gregory owns a tree removal service in Council Bluffs.

Several weeks ago, Ed was tasked with removing a dying, hazardous tree from someone’s front yard, when he found a barred owl nest.

“It’s a protected species, so I told them we couldn’t remove the tree, we’re going to have to wait until they hatch and fly away,” he tells 6 News. “So we took off the hazardous limbs and I’ve been checking up on the owls about weekly.”

As the owl eggs hatched and grew, Ed monitored them, giving updates on the baby birds for the neighborhood, which quickly got invested in their well-being.

But on Memorial Day, Ed’s update was worrisome.

“I came by [Monday] morning and saw one hanging by its foot out of the edge of the nest,” he says. “It couldn’t have been there for more than at least 24 hours, I drove by there [Sunday] evening about 8 o’clock and it wasn’t there, so sometime between 8 o’clock [Sunday] night and noon [Monday] is when it fell.”

One of the baby owls had successfully left the nest, but the other one got stuck.

“It was in a knothole of a tree, and the knot had a crack down it that was maybe a half-inch wide, maybe less, a quarter-inch, something like that,” he says. “And its foot was caught in there and it was hanging upside down, and I went up in the bucket truck and just grabbed its wings, folded them in, held the owl, and then I just broke the edge of the tree off and pulled him loose.”

Ed took the bird home, taking care of it until Raptor Conservation Alliance was able to pick it up.

The organization says they suspect the owl has a dislocated leg. They also say this isn’t the first barred owl of the season, they’ve cared for several already who have been blown out of their nests by the wind.

Ed says in his line of work, this also isn’t the first time he’s seen something like this.

“We just had raptor rescue out here three weeks ago for a red-tailed hawk,“ he says. “I relocated a dove nest last week in a tree we had to take out.”

Ed knows not everyone loves when trees are removed, but sometimes it’s necessary, especially when they risk falling on homes due to damage or rotting.

He says he and his team will always do what they can to protect with wildlife around us.

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