- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 9, 2023

A burrowing owl was rescued after spending two weeks aboard the world’s second-largest cruise ship, Florida wildlife officials announced Tuesday.

Burrowing owls are a small species, standing only about 9 inches tall, named for the nests they make by digging into the dirt.

The owl was on the Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas during two consecutive seven-night cruises in January sailing out of Miami to Sint Maarten, St. Thomas and the Bahamas, then back to Miami.

The avian was spotted before the cruise ship returned to Florida, but removing it while the ship was at sea or in a foreign country would violate wildlife laws. On Jan. 21, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologist Ricardo Zambrano came aboard to remove the bird.

Mr. Zambrano had only an hour to do so between passengers leaving and coming ahead of a trip to Mexico.

After a number of attempts with the assistance of crew members, Mr. Zambrano nabbed the owl from a 10th-floor balcony facing the ship’s Central Park open-air area, where the bird had been nesting.

“I got lucky,” Mr. Zambrano told Cruise Hive, a cruise news site.

• Brad Matthews can be reached at bmatthews@washingtontimes.com.

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