Family releases healed screech owl on James Island

Eastern Screech Owl is undergoing thearapy at the The Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw. (provided)

On a windy, moon-lit Saturday night, a screech owl rehabilitated by Maureen Chick and her family shot out of her Louis Vuitton bag to a new life in the woods of James Island.

“It’s one of the top 5 experiences of my life,” she said.

And if you blinked, you missed it.

The male owl obviously had no intention of hanging around for a picture. When Chick opened the bag, the bird catapulted toward the darkened tree line with a furious blast of wing power.

The Chicks — including husband Bill and daughters Katie and Sam — gathered for the occasion at a plot of land they own on Fort Johnson Road. After the owl had returned to the wild, the girls scanned tree branches with flashlights, but to no avail.

Maureen Chick found the injured owl paralyzed in the street on May 23 while driving near the Piggly Wiggly on Harbor View Road.

“This thing had incredible eyes,” she said.

After rescuing it, she took the owl home and then to the Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw. The family picked-up the owl at the center on Saturday for release back into the wild.

The owl was treated for a fractured left scapula, or shoulder blade. With its newly-healed body, it flew into the night near the entrance to the state Marine Resources Research Institute.

“I’m glad it’s all healed,” Bill Cheek said.

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