Owl that fell down chimney forces college library to shut down for nearly a week

DECATUR, Ga. — A metro Atlanta college library is a lot quieter than usual because of an owl that has set up camp in its rafters.

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Students have not been allowed inside Agnes Scott’s library for nearly a week.

Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen was at McCain Library, which looked more like a scene out of Harry Potter Thursday. But while the library looks like Hogwarts, this is definitely their first owl.

English and history major Nathalie Slaughter believes that when one studies in the library, one must keep the voice down even during a time of panic.

“It was a little scary,” Slaughter said. “It was like... it freaked me out a lot.”

The owl flew down the library’s chimney and is now perched up in the rafters.

Library director Elizabeth Bagley said the barred owl is not the first bird to take up residence in the building.


“This is our fourth bird,” Bagley said. “First owl, but the fourth bird to come down the chimney.”

The school shut the main floor of the library down to protect both the owl and students. They’ve since hired a professional falconer who left a door open and then tried to shoo the owl away with a really long stick. He even set up a special trap with a pigeon and a gerbil inside.

The owl won’t be able to get to the bait, but so far, even that hasn’t worked.

“It’s been fun in some ways, but we’d like our library and study space back at some point,” Bagley said.

Slaughter was the first one to come face-to-face with the bird, and it’s a moment that won’t be easy to get over.

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“My soul left my body,” Slaughter said. “But also, it was nice to see an owl up-close. But it scared the crap out of me, because it’s a bird of prey! I don’t want it to claw my face out!”

Barred owls are also known as “hoot” owls and have a lifespan of more than 20 years. Hopefully, officials say, this one doesn’t occupy the Agnes Scott Library for that long.