A Ponca City man who came to the aid of a great horned owl stuck in a soccer net says the owl said 'Thank you' in its own way.
Tom Cusick, Title I Parent Liaison at West Middle School, used a rain coat and the help of two teachers to save the owl.
The owl had gotten a wing tangled in a soccer net at the school on Wednesday, April 29, 2015. Two students playing on the field saw the owl in distress and ran to Dean of Students Tami Flaspohler. Flaspohler called animal control, but before it could respond, Cusick took action.
Cusick put on some heavy leather gloves and wrapped the owl with his raincoat.
Teacher Linda Broome helped him hold the owl while teacher Michael Webb cut the net away from its wing. That's when something extraordinary happened.
"When I finally got his wing out of the net, the owl sat on my hand and looked right into my eyes, as if to say ‘Thank you!' I made him flap his wings to make sure they were not broken. He continued to sit on my heavy, leather-gloved hand until all of a sudden, he flew off," Cusick said.
Cusick said it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. He'd never been that close to a great horned owl before.
He said he's hunted and fished all his life but nothing like this has ever happened to him before. He said the owl could easily have attacked him, but it just sat on his hand looking him straight in the eye and cocking its head back and forth.
"The bad news is the soccer team will have to get a new net because that one has a pretty good-sized hole in it now," he said.