P.E.I. students save owl from murder of crows
Students from Summerside school with owl mascot wind up saving a real owl outside their classroom
Cooper MacEwen was sitting in his Grade 8 science class at Summerside Intermediate on Friday afternoon when he heard a thud against the classroom window.
"We all looked over and it was a crow that hit the window," said the P.E.I. student.
MacEwen decided to look a bit closer and peeked out the glass.
"We saw this owl there and, like, five crows swarming it," he said. "We saw the owl just sitting there, not moving, not flying."
Students rushed over and started banging on the windows to get the crows to stop swooping and pecking at the tiny owl.
"[A crow] was trying to grab its wings and head and trying to harm it," said 13-year-old Holden Rush, who is also in the class.
Morgan Sears was teaching the class when it happened and said birds often hit the reflective window in his classroom. He didn't think much of it until students wanted to see what was happening.
"Somebody who was sitting close to the window said there is an owl. I said, 'Everybody, let's look.' Usually, yeah, you want them to stay focused on their work, but it was kind of neat. So everybody went to the windows."
Determined to save owl
Sears said the owl seemed wounded and was only moving its head as the crows swarmed it.
"To be honest, I said at one point, 'Let's just look away and let nature take its course.' I'm a science teacher, and things have to die for other things to live. But students didn't think that was a good idea, so we went down this let's-save-it route."
A few students went outside and scared the crows away while a school staff member came and gently scooped up the owl.
"We were all inside watching," said Ethan Arsenault, another student in the class. "I hope it recovers and is sent off."
A conservation officer came to the school about a half hour after the owl was rescued. Wildlife officials with the province determined it was a juvenile northern saw-whet owl. According to a statement from the province on Monday, staff released the owl when they determined it was OK.
"I hope he has a fresh life ahead of him," said Rush.
Sears said with owls being nocturnal, he isn't sure how this one found itself in danger. He said there are a lot of tall trees around and maybe it fell, or crows knocked it from a tree. He said the students co-ordinated the rescue efforts themselves.
"Students looked up the phone number for conservation [in] P.E.I., other students who wanted to call made the phone call, other students went to the office. Like, they did everything — I just kind of sat back and managed," Sears said.
"They all have their individual strengths, there are 15 of them there and they all played a role and probably saved this owl's life."
The kicker here is that the mascot for Summerside Intermediate is an owl. Its name is Ozzy.
"It kind of became a joke when I started talking to staff about it. I'm like, 'We had our own … little Ozzy encounter.'"