Cruisin’ for a HOO-liday: Owl caught on Royal Caribbean ship in Florida

Burrowing owl joined passengers on the two-week trip

This burrowing owl spent two weeks on a large cruise ship. (FWC)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Even birds need a break.

A Florida wildlife biologist was dispatched to catch a stowaway on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in Miami this week — a burrowing owl.

The owl hitched a ride on the Symphony of the Seas cruise ship and joined passengers for their two-week holiday.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission sent a biologist when the ship returned to help get the bird off the ship before the new passengers embarked for their trip to Mexico.

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The owl did not make capture easy, as the video below from FWC shows, but eventually, the crew was able to make noise to distract the owl while the biologist snuck up and captured him from the balcony of a 10th-story cabin.

The owl was taken to South Florida Wildlife Center for a checkup, though it seemed to be in good health. FWC said the owl’s normal diet of insects, reptiles, birds, frogs and rodents means a cruise ship is not an ideal long-term habitat.

Burrowing owls are small, only 9 inches tall, and they are threatened in Florida. If you see a burrowing owl where it shouldn’t be, contact the FWC regional office near you.

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Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.