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Sad end to owl rescue

By Staff Reporter

The bedraggled little owl at the home of countryside ranger Andy Summers.
The bedraggled little owl at the home of countryside ranger Andy Summers.

A rescue attempt swung into action last week to save the life of a stricken owl after it took refuge on a Spanish ship, which then docked in Lochinver harbour.

The ship’s crew kept the bird alive initially before passing it on to a Highlife Highland countryside ranger who looked after it until it could be handed over to the SSPCA.

But despite the efforts of all the parties involved, and initial optimism that the little bird had taken a turn for the better, the owl died.

Assynt countryside ranger Andy Summers said rescuers had become attached to the plucky little bird and had hoped it could be saved.

The small short-eared owl landed on the fishing boat Vera at the start of this week as the vessel was working out at sea west of Lewis.

“Short-eared owls sometimes do short local migrations,” said Mr Summers. “It was flying out towards St Kilda but had become totally lost.

“It was lucky to find the boat in all that sea and when it landed it was totally exhausted and dehydrated.”

The crew kept the owl safe and tried their level best to get it to feed but without success.”

It was around three days later before the Vera docked at Lochinver harbour on Wednesday and the concerned crew got in touch with Mr Summers.

He said: “The owl was very thin and dehydrated. It spent a night with us and we got a bit of fluid and food into it.

“By the next morning, it was looking a lot better and we thought it was recovering well.”

Mr Summers wife, Roz, drove to Inverness the following day and handed it over to the SSPCA but it died yesterday evening.

“The SSPCA rehydrated it and were in the process of crop feeding it, but I guess they did not get it in time,” said Mr Summers. “I had hoped it was getting better but sadly no.”

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