PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

Fernie SAR, Fernie Fire Rescue, wildlife rehabilitation volunteers assisted in returning the owl to its nest. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press
The mother Great Horned Owl being chased by a murder of crows. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press
Firefighter Trevor Fairweather carries the baby owl back to its nest, using their 75-foot extendable ladder. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press
Phil McLachlan/The Free Press
Phil McLachlan/The Free Press
The juvenile Great Horned Owl before being returned to its nest. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press
Firefighter Trevor Fairweather carried the baby owl back to its nest, using their 75-foot extendable ladder. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press
Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (OWL) volunteer Nycki Wannamaker shows the underdeveloped wings of the baby Great Horned Owl. Its inability to fly itself back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

A juvenile Great Horned Owl is now safely back with its family, thanks to the rescue efforts of local first responders.

On Friday morning, Fernie Fire Rescue, Fernie Search and Rescue and wildlife rehabilitation volunteers assisted in returning the baby owl to its nest, after it fell and could not return by itself.

The owl was uninjured when it fell, but its wings were not yet fully developed, so returning to its family was near impossible. Generally rehabilitation volunteers would simply put the owl in a safe spot off the ground, but as there were no branches close to the ground, they called upon the fire department to assist them.

Using their 75-foot ladder, the fire department was able to return the animal to its family.

Firefighter Trevor Fairweather said this was an unusual call for them, and for him, this was a first.

“That’s the reverse of what we normally do – normally we’re taking animals out of trees,” he said. “But, it’s just as easy to put them back.

“He’s pretty happy to be back up there with his little sibling, it felt good to get him back.”

A turf war between the owl family and a nearby murder of crows could have caused the baby to fall. As firefighters were returning the baby to its home, the mother Great Horned Owl flew overhead, trailed by a group of angry crows.

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