Owl invader takes up roost inside Oak Bay home

A barred owl sits on a chandelier after finding its way inside a home in Oak Bay, B.C., on Nov. 13. (Tina Gaboury - image credit)
A barred owl sits on a chandelier after finding its way inside a home in Oak Bay, B.C., on Nov. 13. (Tina Gaboury - image credit)

When Tina Gaboury saw an owl perched on the dining room chandelier, she knew this was a different kind of home invasion.

It was Sunday, Nov. 13 in Oak Bay, B.C., and Gaboury and her boyfriend had arrived to check on a friend's house. Once inside, they couldn't help but notice several things were out of place.

Lamps were knocked over, pictures were off the walls, and the house was in a general state of disarray. Given the scene they had walked into — and the fact the homeowner was a meticulous housekeeper — they figured the place had been robbed.

"We were walking around, seeing if there was like a broken window or something like that," Gaboury said on CBC's All Points West.

"And as we were walking around, I was just getting my phone out to call the police, and I looked up and there was this owl hanging on the chandelier in the dining room, staring down at us."

The winged intruder turned out to be a barred owl. The species is easily identifiable by its grey-brown vertical striping over a white body, its large, rounded head, and lack of ear tufts.

Tina Gaboury
Tina Gaboury

Based on the black soot marks on the living room ceiling, Gaboury said the owl must have come in through the chimney.

The question was, how to get it out?

Because this feathered felon was in no hurry to leave.

"I wasn't sure how to react, but he just sat there and stared down at us," Gaboury said. "So then once we got a little bit more comfortable, we started picking stuff up off the floors and things like that, and he just sat there and just stared at us the whole time while we were doing our thing."

Gaboury said she and her boyfriend opened up some windows and doors but the owl still showed no signs of wanting to leave. It also took up roost on a china cabinet, and on a wicker box sitting on a chair in the corner of the dining room.

By this time, Gaboury had called her brother-in-law for some assistance. Eventually, he played "owl in a towel" and took the bundle out the back door. He placed the parcel on a patio table and took the towel off. Gaboury said the owl sat there for about 10 minutes, soaking up some attention.

"He sat there and let us pet him," Gaboury said.

"He was just enjoying the company and then he just eventually flew off to one of the trees in the yard."

Tina Gaboury
Tina Gaboury

Two incidents, one owl?

This owl invasion is the second one in Oak Bay in recent days. In the early hours of Nov. 10, police responded to a different location after a homeowner called them in a state of distress. They arrived to find an owl sitting on a couch.

Based on her own pictures, and ones taken at the other location by the Oak Bay Police Department, Gaboury said it's the consensus of all that it's the same owl.

David Bradley, provincial director for the non-profit Birds Canada, said he's not sure why this particular barred owl has been taking up residence in people's homes, but that it's probably looking for food.

"It could also be looking for a roosting site," he said.

Nothing was taken in the second incident, but the owl did leave some evidence of the encounter behind.

Gaboury said there were "lots of little treats from the owl, all over the furniture and the floors, if you know what I'm saying."