Eastern Screech-Owl #23-3918

December 2, 2023
January 11, 2024
Rescue Location
Rockingham County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Glue trap
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated

On December 2, the Wildlife Center admitted an Eastern Screech-Owl that had been entrapped not once, but twice inside a rescuer’s home in Rockingham County. The owl was first found trapped inside the homeowner’s chimney; the chimney was capped, but had recently broken apart and allowed the bird to enter. After freeing the owl, the homeowner attempted to move the owl toward an open door, but the owl flew into another room and landed on a set of fly-strip glue traps, becoming stuck. The owl was brought in for care so it could be safely removed from the trap and checked for injuries.

On admission, vet staff removed the owl from the glue traps using mineral oil (something that only trained professionals should do) and anesthetized the bird for an exam. Glue traps can often cause feather damage to birds that are stuck, or more severe injuries if the bird does not receive help right away. Luckily, the owl did not sustain any injuries from its entrapment, though a blood test revealed it had a subclinical level of lead in its system.

While anesthetized, staff at the Center gently bathed the owl using a mixture of water and dawn dish soap to remove the glue residue. They were careful not to let the water enter the bird’s airway, and after completely removing the glue residue, used a blow drier to carefully dry the owl’s feathers. The owl recovered in an incubator to warm up after the exam.


After one more bath later in the week, and a course of chelation therapy to remove the lead, the owl was bright and ready to start daily exercise sessions. It didn’t take long for the bird to regain its strength, and on January 11, the vet team cleared the owl for release. The rescuer picked the owl up from the Center and released it near her property later that night.

Though this owl survived its ordeal, many glue trap victims do not. Wildlife caught in glue traps, ranging from snakes to birds and so many others,  are often attracted to the glue traps by insects or other animals that are caught, thus becoming stuck themselves. Unless immediate help is provided, most will suffer a slow painful death. To learn more about safe, wildlife-friendly alternatives to glue traps, check out the Center’s wildlife issues page.

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