Timing Is Everything In Owlet Rescue

Bette Gerstein, Livia Jubel, and Anika Paris, from left, get a close-up view of a fledgling screech owl. JACKIE HOVING

Serendipity came into play on Thursday afternoon, June 10, when a fledgling screech owl fell from a nest in Mashashimuet Park and fluttered about the ground helplessly.

“It looked like a stuffed animal fell out of tree,” said Jackie Hoving, who was there with friends and their children who had just taken a tennis lesson. “It sort of hopped around a little and as we watched it, it made its way to a trash can and then a tree.”

Ms. Hoving and her friends were trying to figure out who to call when another woman happened by and told them she would call Mayor Kathleen Mulcahy.

While animal rescues are not included in the Sag Harbor mayor’s job description, it turns out that Ms. Mulcahy did just happen to have someone in mind: Nick Marzano, a house painter who lives in Wading River who formerly worked as a volunteer with the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center in Hampton Bays.

A screech owl fledgling that fell from a tree in Mashashimuet Park on Thursday was reunited with its siblings by wildlife rescuer Nick Marzano. JACKIE HOVING

Mr. Marzano was just finishing his day’s a work at a home in the village and arrived at the park within 10 minutes.

“There was a small crowd of people gathered around the tennis courts,” he said. “And sure enough it was a red phase fledgling screech owl. There were two more in a low-hanging branch.”

He wrapped the tiny bird in a towel and took a few minutes to show it to the three children, Bette Gerstein, Livia Lubell and Anika Paris.

“I’ve done this 100 times before,” said Mr. Marzano, who started the education program at the wildlife center. “They, of course, want to touch the owl, and I explain why they shouldn’t.”

Mr. Marzano used one of his extension ladders to place the bird back on the branch with its siblings, but it fluttered to the ground a second time. He returned it to the tree and decided to hang around for awhile to make sure it didn’t fall out again.

After about an hour and a half, he was satisfied that the bird was securely back in the tree and headed home to Wading River. “It was a fun moment for me,” he said.