Tacoma zoo’s trained owl spooked, flies off

TACOMA — A Tacoma zoo says a Eurasian eagle owl named Forrest that is trained to fly during performances of its outdoor theater got spooked and flew off into a nearby park.

Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium is asking for calls from anyone who sees Forrest, who is believed to be in Point Defiance Park.

Members of the zoo’s Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater staff were rehearsing a new show when Forrest flew off Wednesday afternoon. They think he was startled by changes made to the stage. He’s trained to fly during performances and then return.

Forrest is about 2 feet tall, with a 5-foot wingspan. Besides looking like an owl, he’s wearing red “jesses,” which look like red cords dangling from his legs, and telemetry, which looks like a black wire dangling from a leg.

Staff biologist Sara Mattison says he’s comfortable around people and may even “hoot” if he sees someone.

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