BULL VALLEY – Jim Page made sure he had a plastic box handy when he got a call Monday from a homeowner about a baby great horned owl that fell out of its nest.
Page, a Bull Valley Police commander, saw the weeks-old predatory bird next to a driveway along the 8700 block of Bull Valley Road, carefully placed the box over it and slid the lid underneath.
"It was a little bit bigger than a grapefruit, all white," Page said. "It looked like Harry Potter's snowy owl."
After safely capturing the baby owl, Page contacted the McHenry County Conservation District, which took possession of the bird and later returned it to its nest.
Gusty winds Saturday must have knocked the baby owl out of its nest, Page said based on conversations with the homeowner.
"It was chirping, and it was so cold," he said. "It was angry for a moment, but it became happy that it was just warm."
About once a year, Bull Valley police will field calls about abandoned deer or lost foxes, but never a call about loose owls, Page said.
It was a redeeming moment for the commander, who said an adult great horned owl flew into the side of his squad car and died two months ago while chasing prey.
"I felt so bad," he said. "I kind of redeemed myself about saving this one."
The incident also is a lesson for residents who spot out-of-place animals. Instead of just leaving the animals, they should call to have them rescued, Page said.