‘Who’ was an unwelcome visitor in a Kirkwood home? An owl, that’s who.


KIRKWOOD, Mo. – ‘Who’ would have thought an owl would come inside your house? Not a robin or a cardinal, but an owl; flying from one room to another and refusing to fly out an open door.

“I covered news for 25 years. I never covered an owl in somebody’s house.”

Former FOX 2 reporter George Sells picked up his kids from school Wednesday and came home to an intruder.

“I come around a corner and I look up and that owl is up in the corner wings fully spread. I don’t know if it was four feet, six feet. It looked, like, insanely huge,” Sells said.

A barred owl, the second-largest owl species found in the St. Louis region, had managed to get inside the home.

“Their fireplace…the doors were open, and the flue was open. So, chances are the owl was hunting and fell down the chimney,” said Tom Fitzgerald, Rottler Pest and Lawn Solutions. When Sells reached out to Rottler for help, Fitzgerald got the call. The former World Bird Sanctuary volunteer was the right man for the job.

“So, I was familiar with handling them; knowing what to do, what not to do. And knowing what to do once I got my hands on him,” Fitzgerald said.

Once the pros were on site, Sells captured the rest on camera.

“Yeah, I grabbed the phone, it was in my hand. And once I had done the thing to make sure everybody’s safe, I’m like, ‘I’ve got to get some pictures of this,’” Sells said.

“Using gloves and a net, we were able to pin him up against the window,” explained Fitzgerald. “And then just gently put him down into a box. Then I was able…he was looking out the box so I was able to see he was okay.”

The damage? One knocked over lamp and one bottle broken. Sells cannot believe his luck.

“Shocked. I still can’t believe there’s not broken stuff everywhere,” he said.

Jay Everitt, the technical director with Rottler, said a flue cap or cover is the way to keep all kinds of critters out.

“They can be very dangerous if they were going to grab on to you. You can see in the video, Tom has his protective gloves on. It’s a challenging situation. It’s not a do-it-yourselfer,” Everitt said.

Fitzgerald released the owl in nearby woods, familiar hunting territory for the animal. And the Sells family was left with a great story to tell.

“My daughter, Samantha, is 11. And the first thing out of her mouth was, “My invitation to Hogwarts in here! Ready to go,'” Sells said.

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