Officials swoop in to rescue injured owl at Routt County Fair |

Officials swoop in to rescue injured owl at Routt County Fair

Hayden Animal Control officer Meredith Murray and Hayden Police Chief Greg Tuliszewski rescued an owl Tuesday that injured itself after flying into the Routt County Fairgrounds grandstand.
courtesy photo

— A great horned owl drew some attention Tuesday after it had to be rescued during the Routt County Fair.

James Vandertook, a maintenance worker at the fairgrounds, said the owl has been spending its summer days perched in the grandstand overlooking the arena and track.

“He’s watched me all summer,” Vandertook said.

Vandertook grew fond of his new raptor friend and named it Routty after Routt County.

“He’s kind of a local celebrity for only being here six months,” Hayden Police Chief Greg Tuliszewski said of the owl.

During Tuesday’s horse gymkhana, Tuliszewski said something spooked Routty, and the owl flew into the grandstands and hurt its wing.

Hayden animal control officer Meredith Murray saw the injured owl, and Tuliszewski went to get a blanket and net to try and catch Routty.

They were successful and put Routty in a kennel in a dark, air-conditioned room to calm down.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer Andrea Sponseller picked up the bird and brought it to Born Free Wildlife Rehabilitation outside of Steamboat Springs. The nonprofit is operated by Tracy Bye and is federally licensed to care for injured or abandoned wildlife.

It was confirmed that Routty had broken its wing and was going to be evaluated by a specialist on the Front Range.

“I hope it works out alright,” Sponseller said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User