3 min read

People Find Great Horned Owl In The Strangest Position

"The poor owl was hanging by her wing suspended between two trees."

A resident in Woodside, California, got a surprise when looking up toward the tree canopy this week.

It's perfectly normal to see birds in trees — but suspended in midair between two tall trees is another matter entirely.

Wild great-horned owl caught in kite string in California
PHS/SPCA

This particular bird was a great horned owl, who appeared to be painfully suspended there, with one of her wings stretched up. 

Thankfully, people at the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA (PHS/SPCA) were called and, along with rescuers from the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and the Woodside Fire Protection District, they rushed to the scene.

As unusual as the sight of this owl may seem, what this owl experienced was not that uncommon. Whether it's fishing line, plastic bags or balloons, seemingly benign debris humans leave behind in the environment can literally mean the deaths of wild animals and birds. 

In this case, the majestic owl was nearly killed — by a kite string. 

Rescuers helping great-horned owl who was caught in a kite string
PHS/SPCA

“The poor owl was hanging by her wing suspended between two trees," Buffy Martin Tarbox, communications manager for PHS/SPCA, said in a press release. "She was unable to free herself and without human assistance more than likely would have perished.”
 
Firemen managed to get high enough to cut the string and the tangled owl fell into the arms of rescuers waiting underneath to catch her.

“Our rescue staff were able to untangle her wing from the string," Tarbox said.

Great-horned owl flying away after rescue from kite string
PHS/SPCA

Luckily, the owl was probably not hanging there for too long — rescuers found no injuries on her and so let her fly back into the wild. 

"Had she needed treatment, we would have brought her back to our wildlife care center,” Tarbox said. “The rest of the abandoned kite string was carefully removed to prevent any further negative interaction with wildlife.”

You can help protect wild birds by making sure to clean up after yourself when enjoying the outdoors. You can also donate to PHS/SPCA to support more rescues like these