EXTREME hunger led to the easy capture of a barn owl which was to weak to avoid human beings while scavenging for food near the runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Airport personnel told Beyond Deadlines last Wednesday that they noticed something moving in the grass alongside the airport’s 06/24 runway. They added that several people cutting the grass in the area decided to investigate and found the bird just sitting on the grass staring on them.
The grass cutters said the bird is to weak that it was not even able to move when approached by them.
“The barn owl is a medium-sized, pale-colored owl with long wings and a short, squarish tail. Its head and upper body typically vary between pale brown and some shade of grey (especially on the forehead and back) in most subspecies. Some are purer, richer brown instead, and all have fine black-and-white speckles except on the remiges and rectrices (main wing feathers), which are light brown with darker bands. The heart-shaped face is usually bright white, but in some subspecies it is brown.”*
Barn owls natural diet comprises small mammals, mainly field voles, common shrews and wood mice, and in NAIA, they usually feed on small rodents.
Airport Ground Operations Safety Division safety officer Roummel Cruz said the recovery of the owl “averted a potential bird strike in the area near the runway.” He noted that several owls have been frequenting at the NAIA grasslands especially during nighttime.
The owl was later turned over the DENR-NCR Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit detailed at NAIA terminal 1 to properly address its overall welfare.