Why Snowy Owl ?
Snowy Owls are of course “snowbirds”, and owls are generally thought of as “watchful” creatures - so right away it’s a good mascot. But there is more to the story….
In January 2020, I was headed down my driveway with our dogs, getting ready to start a walk around the neighborhood. As we headed toward the street, my eye caught some movement in the living room window of the house across the street. I knew the owner was out of town and had been gone for some time. As I continued to look, something large looked back at me. I walked across the street to get a better look and was stunned to see a large white bird sitting on the back of a chair in the picture window. It was an owl. A live, mournful looking owl. It was clear from the imprint on the glass that he had tried previously to fly through.
How long had he been stuck in the house? How do I help it out?
I first walked around the house to see if there was a broken window or open door. There was not. Then I called our neighboring nature center. They couldn’t help. Next I called the local police. They have a wildlife unit and came to help, but ultimately they are not allowed to break into a locked home - even if it is to free a trapped animal. So the owl remained.
After about an hour of these efforts, I was able to locate a neighbor that knew how to contact the homeowner. He was traveling and was about 2 hours away. Thankfully (and luckily) he was able to come back into town that evening to shoo the owl out of his house. We later found out that it had likely entered through the chimney - the exterior protective grate had blown off. Can you imagine the damage such a big bird could do inside a house if it was frightened and trying to escape? What if it was in the house for several days? What a mess.
This story ended well for the homeowner and the owl due to a large heaping portion of luck. But this got me to thinking - about this house, other unattended homes and even my own house when we travel. Who is available to watch out for and solve these issues when the homeowner is away? It's a lot to ask of a neighbor or family member to be regularly and thoroughly checking a home and property and if something goes wrong it can be a lot of work. Even then, not everyone even has the option of a family member or trusted neighbor. Or they do, but they don't want to burden them. There had to be a better way - and in fact there was.
This is how Snowy Owl Home Watch came to be. Now discreetly and respectfully keeping an eye on your home or condo when you can't. Don’t count on luck as your insurance plan.