Owl Be There for You

May 10, 2023

Every day presents an opportunity to protect our planet’s wildlife and help cultivate a thriving, sustainable ecosystem. Small actions, like reducing single-use plastic, planting native plants and trees, or supporting conservation organizations, all contribute to preserving our natural world. Sometimes, making an impact means taking more direct action to help animals in need.

John Lebica, a Sr. Onsite Representative in the OPM Group, has worked on many exciting projects during his nine years at CHA, including spending four years working on a project on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Early in his career, John worked for the Mass Audobon Society and had the opportunity to handle a variety of wild creatures that needed assistance in one way or another. These skills have stayed with him throughout his career, earning him a reputation as the go-to person for any wildlife-related problem or adventure. Barred owls have been the focus of his latest adventures while working on a library in Marlborough, Massachusetts.

During a team meeting in the early stages of the project, John was quick to take action when a librarian showed him a photo of a barred owl found on the sidewalk nearby. With previous experience working with owls, he immediately noticed it was disoriented, likely from flying into a window or being hit by a car. He gently placed the bird in a dark cardboard box to allow it to recover, and after about an hour, the owl regained its bearings and was released back into the wild.

“Birds fly into windows all the time,” explains John. “The best treatment is being in a quiet, dark, cardboard box for, as I say, a chance to reset their clock.” After about an hour, owls typically fly right out once the box is opened. If they are still disoriented, the best action is to contact or drop them off at a local wildlife rehabilitation center for further evaluation.

John’s adventure doesn’t end there. While driving to the job site one day recently, John noticed another barred owl in the breakdown lane. He took the owl in and kept it in his closet for the day. By the end of the day, the owl was still groggy, so John decided to take it to a local rehab center, but not before introducing it to his grandsons, as seen in the video. John says, “It’s amazing because you can actually see it snap out of it in real-time, and when I pick it up, if you listen carefully, you will hear it clack its beak, which means he’s getting mad about what is happening, definitely a sign he’s tuning in and ready to be on his way.”

John’s love for nature and wildlife has been a constant in his life, and he enjoys sharing it with those around him. He says, “It’s always fun to bring the wild side to the folks I’m close to, especially my grandsons who are nature boys too! And, it is a special occasion for everyone on a job site when one of our encounters ends so well.”

Whether it’s sorting the recycling or putting a bird in a cardboard box to recover, we all have a role to play in responsibly improving the world we live in. Cheers to John for caring about our local wildlife and  saving a beautiful owl!