Thanks to the quick work of a group of middle schoolers, a local owl got a new shot at life this week.
The Stone Hill Middle School seventh-grade communications class, along with Blue Ridge Wildlife Center Director of Veterinary Services Jennifer Riley, released a Great Horned Owl into the wild on Thursday in the school’s soccer field. The release came eight days after the class discovered the owl, which some of the students called “Carl,” trapped in the school’s soccer net with small wounds on its wing membrane and feet.
Following a call to Loudoun County Animal Services, the wildlife center took the owl in for treatment. Riley said her team never learned the age or sex of the Great Horned Owl—which is one of the region’s most common species, and the largest.
She urged schools to put their soccer nets away when they’re not in use because owls hunt overtop of fields, like soccer fields, and are unaware that they can’t fly through the nets.
Stone Hill Principal Kathryn Clark said the communications class would report on the catch and release of the owl to the seventh-grade life science program.
The Blue Ridge Wildlife center is the only dedicated wildlife hospital in Northern Virginia. It cares for more than 2,000 native wildlife annually at no charge by integrating veterinary medicine, rehabilitation, education and research.