Owl rescue one for the books

Melton Library customer service officer Guy Kennedy with the owl. (Pictures: Supplied)

An unexpected visitor has made quite a flap at Melton Library.

Customer service officer Guy Kennedy was shelving magazines at the library recently when he noticed a number of black ravens outside, circling around and swooping down upon what he initially took to be a teddy bear.

Upon closer inspection he realised the ‘teddy bear’ was in fact an owl that appeared to be in peril from the raven attack.

Mr Kennedy went outside, scared off the ravens and picked up the disoriented owl in his jumper, taking it back into the library for safety.

Although concerned to see an animal in distress, Mr Kennedy said it was a privilege to be in such close contact with such an amazing creature.

“It wasn’t until I walked closer I realised it was an owl species,” he said.

“I was taken aback, I’d never seen an owl in the wild before.”

Mr Kennedy said that growing up nearby in the Macedon Ranges and coming from an animal orientated family had provided plenty of opportunity for rescuing injured wildlife.

“We were taught how to use a jumper to recover injured animals, it allows you to hold them firmly while giving some protection to your hands,” he said.

“I’ve never handled a bird of prey before, so I was quite nervous of the bird’s beak and talons.”

The small library team was in the process of contacting wildlife rescue when the owl came awake in Mr Kennedy’s hands.

It soon took flight across the library offices and appeared to be well, so staff decided to let it settle in the library garden to see how it fared.

“I was really relieved to be able to safely set it free,” Mr Kennedy said.

“After a bit of a wobbly start it took off strongly up over our building. I really hope it made it safely to a roost.”

Libraries and arts manager Susie Prestney said the owl visit was a treat for the few staff on site at Melton Library during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“Our library staff are very observant and it’s wonderful to see the care that was shown for this owl,” she said.

“Thankfully, the owl appeared healthy and after a quick stop in at the library, was able to continue its journey.”

Benjamin Millar