Officials of a Swedish Zoo are on the hunt for an owl that broke out of its Stockholm enclosure earlier this week.
Two great grey owls, named Barwr and Percy, escaped from the Skansen Zoo after a winter storm broke the netting over their cage on Monday (Nov. 21). One has since made its way back to the establishment, but the other is still at large.
“During the night our enclosure collapsed due to the weight of the snow which produced a huge hole. I can see why the owls escaped, there wasn’t so much left of it,” staff member Linda Törngren told The Local.
Workers immediately began a search, but there was no sign of the birds by nightfall, which made officials lose hope of finding the owls at all.
Fortunately, Percy willingly returned to the zoo on Wed. Workers spotted him on the ground and tempt him back into captivity.
“The birds are so well-trained by keepers that it was possible to get him down using a signal they’re used to hearing,” Törngren shared.
Percy remains happy and healthy and is eating normally, Törngren noted.
The Escaped Owl Can Survive the Cold Stockholm Winter
There is still no sign of Barr. But Törngren said that it’s not abnormal for the owls to be traveling separately. So, she wasn’t worried about his safety when Percy returned alone.
Great greys are solitary birds. And she said that when the netting snapped, Barr and Percy likely flew off in different directions.
“It was probably a bit of a shock when the enclosure broke,” she admitted. “It was their home. They probably just escaped in whatever direction they could, sitting in the first tree they happened to end up in.”
To make matters worse for zoo staff, the owls “bunch themselves up when they get scared and look like a small branch.” So it is difficult to find them in the wild.
While Törngren doesn’t have a lot of hope that Barr will fly back to the zoo, she isn’t concerned about the owl surviving life in the wild. Great grey owls are native to Norrland, so they’re built to survive the cold, snowy weather that Stockholm is currently experiencing.
The owl can also go long periods of time without food if the weather makes it difficult to hunt. But they’re skilled at spotting small rodents. So if they are hungry, they can typically hunt down a meal.
Törngren also shared that no one in the area should be afraid if they meet Barr in their backyard. While great grey owls can grow to be an intimidating 33 inches, they’re harmless to humans. And this particular owl happens to like people.
“They are absolutely not dangerous unless you are a small rodent,” Törngren said. “They are extremely used to people and very friendly.”