An owl rescued by Farmington firefighters near the Farmington bridge Sunday morning is recovering at Roaring Brook Nature Center and is expected to be returned to the spot soon.
The bird was spotted hanging by its wing from a tree by a fisherman, firefighter Bob O’Meara said. Fishing line had gotten wrapped around the owl’s wing and the bird had gotten caught when it tried to fly.
Firefighters responded and were able to reach the owl. Deputy Chief Ron Talit and firefighter Mike Kwas took assistant animal control officer Brenda Bettcher up in a bucket and cut the branch to free the owl.
The owl, identified as a great horned owl, was frightened and exhausted from the ordeal and from struggling to free itself, according to Jay Kaplan, director of Roaring Brook Nature Center in Canton.
Bettcher turned over the owl to Roaring Brook for evaluation and treatment.
“It came back from the vet today and they were able to remove the fishing line from the wing,” Kaplan said. “There doesn’t appear to be structural damage. We’ll keep him a few day, then turn him loose.”
The bird will need 48 hours to recuperate, Kaplan said, because its wing is sprained and feathers damaged.
It’s not the first time Roaring Brook has cared for birds rescued from Farmington that have become entangled in fishing line. Last year another owl was rescued by firefighters in Batterson Park and Kaplan said he’s seen osprey and a loon that were also found.
The osprey had line wound so tightly around its neck, Kaplan said, that had it not been brought it, the bird would have died within an hour. Though numbers of animals brought into the center vary, Kaplan said most that become entangled in fishing line are never found.
“People fish off the banks there and get their lines tangled in trees, then they leave them there and birds get tangled in them,” he said. “It happens to birds, mammals, bats – fishing line is bad stuff. A lot of people are careless and it’s unfortunate.”