Transit Centre staff Sonny Gopal and Edward Wong swoop in to save owl in distress


Edie (right)
Edie (right) with her male companion.

SOME fast-acting service staff at Coast Mountain Bus Company’s Vancouver Transit Centre saved an owl in distress recently.

Sonny Gopal and Edward Wong, who fix buses for TransLink, were moving some vehicles on the lot when they noticed crows diving, attacking a young barn owl. The owl struggled to evade its pursuers, and in the process flew into the side of a bus and fell to the ground, stunned and apparently hurt.

Sonny found a box and carefully tried to approach the owl and place it over it, but he wasn’t fast enough. Luckily, Edward quietly snuck up behind and grabbed it gently in his hands.

Sonny Gopal and Edward Wong
Sonny Gopal and Edward Wong

They immediately contacted the people at Orphaned Wildlife Refuge Society (OWL) in Ladner, where the owl spent the last two months recovering.

Staff at the transit centre nicknamed the beautiful white owl “Eddy” in honour of her rescuer, but perhaps “Edie” may be more apt as Martina Versteeg, bird care supervisor at OWL, says the young owl is a female.

Versteeg says when the bird arrived, they examined her and found that thankfully she only had some bruises and had bit her tongue, likely when she was trying to scare off her pursuers.  She was housed in a barn at OWL’s facility with six other owls—some older, some younger—where she learned the skills needed to survive upon release, Versteeg added.

And last week, “Edie” was released in a barn in North Surrey, with a male barn owl of a similar age so they can hunt together and perhaps form a mating pair.

Since the owl was rescued, Gopal and his fellow staff at Vancouver Transit Centre were calling regularly to get updates on the owl’s progress.

“Everybody was just amazed when we rescued it,” says Gopal, a Langley resident. “The way it looked, it had such an amazing face and everything – you rarely seeing something like that.”



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