LONG HILL — A beloved eastern screech owl stolen this week from a New Jersey avian rehab center has been returned to the facility.
Officials with The Raptor Trust in Long Hill say Simon — a tiny, partly blind and flightless owl who was a favorite of schoolchildren — was returned unharmed Friday night. That came after someone contacted trust officials and told them the bird would be returned unharmed — as long as no charges were filed.
Lauren Butcher, the trust’s education director, told The Daily Record of Parsippany that officials don’t believe that person was involved in the abduction, which apparently happened late Wednesday or early Thursday. She said they were grateful for the person’s help in Simon’s safe return.
Butcher said Len Soucy, the founder and longtime director of the trust that has cared for sick and injured birds since 1968, met with the contact at about 9 p.m. Friday.
Butcher said Simon was a little dehydrated and undergoing fluid therapy Saturday, but was expected to make a full recovery. But he will be shielded from the public this weekend so he can calm down.
Trust officials said the owl was struck by a car in Bangor, Pa., six years ago and is a permanent resident of the center.