WALNUT CREEK (KCBS) – An unusual stowaway discovered aboard an old oiler of the mothball fleet in the Suisun Bay will soon be returned to the wild, officials at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum said Friday.

The fledgling barn owl rescued recently had been hurt, though not badly, in a confrontation with an osprey that also decided to nest in the overhang section of the ship.

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“We see a lot of youngsters getting into trouble this time of year because they are not skilled at hunting,” said Polly Gusa, a docent manager at the museum.

KCBS’ Mark Seelig Reports:

Gusa said the Lindsay helps rehabilitate about 150 barn owls every year. Most are set free, and the few that stay behind delight visitors with their white faces and fluffy brown plumage.

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Museum director Susan Heckley said this is the first time the Lindsay had sent a rescue crew aboard one of the aging ships, though she was not surprised to learn barn owls had found habitat in the mothball fleet.

“Because there aren’t a whole lot of barns left, they’ll take any kind of cavity nesting spot they can,” Heckley said.

She suspects this barn owl had grown up on the ship since it had not fully mastered the art of flying. It could even have died if it landed out on the water, she said.

The museum expects to release the owl in the next few weeks.

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