Look out below...Alex Breitler
Golfer Kyle Bowers of Stockton got a birdie Thursday. But not the kind he wanted.
Bowers had just arrived at the sixth hole of The Reserve at Spanos Park early Thursday afternoon when he ducked into the bathroom, a Porta Potty-like facility with a tank.
He lifted the toilet seat and was about to do his guy thing when he saw a face staring back at him.
The ghost-like face of a terrified barn owl.
“Oh my gosh… what is that?” he thought.
It was pretty dark in there, but Bowers could see the owl bobbing its head around. He quickly guessed that the owl had gone down an unscreened vent from the roof to the tank, and couldn’t find its way back out.
For some reason, nature was no longer calling. So Bowers started calling for help.
Just reach in there and grab the bird from the back, someone told him. No way, he said, fearing the owl would whip its head around and gash his hands with its beak.
He told the cart lady who sells drinks. She didn’t know what to do. The front desk wasn’t much more help.
“I’ll be honest, the golf course didn’t want to do anything,” Bowers said.
He started calling agencies. Eventually he connected with the San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center, which called me. Director Lydia Miller was upset; it had been more than two hours since Bowers saw the owl and nothing had been done. He had borrowed three nets from his father-in-law, Miller said, and was about to go in and get the bird himself.
“It’s a reserve,” she said, referring to the name of the course. “There is no protocol for this golf course, what to do with injured species.”
Thankfully, before Bowers attempted netting the owl, some maintenance workers did it for him. According to Bowers, one of those workers said this kind of thing happened all the time at that toilet.
Put a screen on the vent, Bowers said. It’s a pretty simple solution.
“This won’t happen again,” he vowed. “Heck yeah, I want to cover that vent. Imagine if that was a racoon in there and you sat down (on the toilet). Know what I mean?”
Yeah, I said, I follow you.
Late in the afternoon I put a call into the general manager of the golf course, to ask if he plans to screen the vent. No word yet, but I’ll update this post if and when he calls back.
Bowers was so shook up he didn’t finish the round. The owl, no doubt, is greatly relieved tonight.
A raptor rescue