Scholarly Owl Moves Into Library At Georgia College

Perhaps looking for the works of Edgar Owl-len Poe?

Agnes Scott Owl

Courtesy McCain Library, Agnes Scott College

All-nighters happen all the time in college libraries

But it was an owl-nighter that forced the closure of the McCain Library on the campus of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, for a few days last week.  

The owl managed to get inside through a screen that covers the chimney on the outside, according to Liz Bagley, Director of Library Services at Agnes Scott.  

One of the library’s student assistants was sitting on the fireplace hearth when she looked over and saw the owl about a foot and a half away from her face.  

The surprising encounter “scared three years off her life,” Bagley said with a laugh.  

The owl, likely scared too, then flew up to the library’s reading room, which is about the size of a football field, and settled in the 60 feet tall cathedral pitched ceilings and refused to come down.  

The school called in a volunteer falconer who brought mice in hopes they could coax the bird into a humane trap for removal, but to no avail.  

Bagley said she was told the birds can last 10 days to two weeks without eating, so she assumes this particular owl “must’ve just had lunch” before he flew inside. The bird was not all interested in the mice and wouldn’t come down.   

One of the school’s administrators had previously witnessed a violent owl attack, so out of an abundance of caution, Bagley decided to close the library for everyone’s safety.  They reopened after a few days when they realized the students and the owl could peacefully coexist.  

The owl looked right at home in the library, which Bagley said is constantly being compared to Hogwarts, the school in Harry Potter.

“Everyone said this was Hedwig coming to visit,” Bagley said.  

By week’s end, a falconer returned and with the help of a bucket lift, a six foot pole and Bagley on the ground underneath the owl clapping to get it to fly, they finally managed to get the owl into a net and then safely outside.  

One of the falconers has been conducting these sorts of rescues since 2004 and said “this was the hardest job he’s ever had,” because of the architecture and the bird’s stubbornness, Bagley said.  

"It was quite an experience,” she added.

The owl was released outside the library right around lunchtime and flew to a nearby tree, where Bagley and the rest of the students at Agnes Scott hope it will do the rest of its all-nighters. 

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