Family gives a hoot, rescues barred owl


HERE’S THE owl that was found in the middle of M-65 last Friday. It was a nice friend to have hang out in the kitchen for a few days, but they are federally protected and cannot be kept as pets. Pictured, back from left, are Hunter Kaszubowski, Gage Kaszubowski, Andrzej Kwiecien and Bev Bednarski. (Photo by Peter Jakey)

by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor

Rick and Buffy Kaszubowski of Posen not only have been the home of foreign exchange students the last two schools years, but over the weekend they provided shelter to an injured barred owl and took it to get help.

The owl was found in the middle of the driving lane of M-65 last Friday, south of Posen.

Bev Bednarski, a Posen High School junior, was driving to Alpena with a group of friends and almost hit the bird. They stopped to help out. Hunter Kaszubowski called her father, who helped corral the bird and get it back to their home a few miles away.  It wasn’t an easy task, as Rick tried to steer clear of the bird’s razor sharp talons.

The family searched the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Web site and made contact with Carol Schrieber of Midland, who specializes in rehabilitating small mammals, birds and turtles. Based on the owl’s condition, it may have a broken wing and a concussion. Other than not being able to fly away, it is a beautiful, alert owl that looks fine. The family drove to Midland Sunday afternoon to drop it off.

“What else could we do,” said Buffy. “He’ll starve to death if we don’t do something.”

The United States does not allow private individuals to keep native owls as pets. They may be possessed by trained, licensed individuals. Even in this instance, the person licensed to keep the owl does not “own” the bird. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service retains stewardship.

The Kaszubowskis kept the bird in an open cardboard box in the middle of their kitchen with a branch to perch on in the middle.

“All day, yesterday (Saturday), he sat perched on the side of the box and watched us walk back and forth,” said Hunter.

“He’s been pretty quiet,” said Buffy. 

They tried to feed it, and were advised to try raw liver and chicken, to no avail.

“He didn’t eat any that we know of,” said Buffy. 

Schrieber also said not to transport the bird in a pet taxi. “That was our first instinct, but if they stretch their wings and the wings get caught in the wiring, and they lose any feathers, they have to be kept in captivity for six extra months.”

It gave the family a good feeling trying to save the owl’s life, and they hope their actions give Hootie a chance to be returned into the wild once again.