A barn owl has been returned to the wild after spending an unexpected day at a Treorchy school.
Ben Read – who teaches Year 3 pupils – was driving to work when he saw a bird crash land onto the kerb close to Treorchy Primary School on Tuesday (5 October).
The owl was in clear need of help – so he carefully picked up the owl in a blanket, and took the bird into school before sounding the alarm to the RSPCA.
RSPCA inspector Simon Evans arrived at the school, and took the owl to a local veterinary practice to be checked over.
Thankfully, the bird was uninjured and seemed to have recovered from his crash landing, so was returned to the wild by the RSPCA officer the same day as his school adventure. Heart-warming video footage shows the moment the owl was safely returned to the wild.
Pupils – who nicknamed the owl Barney – were “fascinated” by the discovery and were delighted when Inspector Simon sent them a video of the owl’s successful return to the wild.
Simon added: “We’re so grateful to Mr Read and Treorchy Primary School for coming to this bird’s aid and keeping him safe in a safe room in the school, before we arrived.
“The children were absolutely full of questions about the owl – and it was amazing to see their enthusiasm and interest in Wales’ wonderful wildlife.
“Fortunately, vets found the owl to be fine and he seemed to have no injuries despite the crash landing; so I was able to safely release the bird back to the wild the very same day.
“We’ve long highlighted the benefits animal welfare could play on the school curriculum – and seeing the passion these young animal ambassadors had for wildlife at Treorchy Primary School; it is really clear that learning about animal sentience and welfare will be so beneficial in developing a kinder next generation.”
Mr Read, the teacher, said: “I couldn’t believe it when driving to work I suddenly saw a bird crash land onto the kerb. I slammed the breaks on – and soon saw an owl, which really surprised me at that time of day.
“Luckily, I had a blanket in the boot of the car – and very cautiously collected the owl and took him inside the school. I placed him in a safe room in school until the RSPCA arrived.
“The school pupils were fascinated by the owl. Simon the RSPCA inspector was absolutely fantastic and answered all their questions – they wanted to know how old the bird was, why he was out at that time of day and the type of owl he was. They were chuffed to bits that it was a happy ending for the owl.
“This came at such an interesting time for us – as we are just looking at teaching the children about animal welfare on the curriculum; and Wales’ new curriculum will encourage us to focus on things like local wildlife, the environment and the place of animals in the world.”
Mrs Anstee, headteacher at the school, added: “The pupils’ reaction to the owl was that of amazement!”