The all-inclusive nature of cruises attractive to vacationers nationwide. Passengers are shuttled from one beautiful destination to the next while being constantly fed and entertained. It’s an experience that entices even wild birds. An owl from South Florida was recently able to make a two-week round trip to Mexico for free. However, a welcome party ensured the stowaways’ journey ended when the ship returned Miami.
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According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), a burrowing owl found her way aboard the Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas as it set sail for a two-week cruise. The symphony of the sea is second largest cruise ship in the world, behind its sister ship Wonder of the Seas. The ship also has a maximum passenger capacity of 6,680 people. Passengers reported seeing owls around the ship perched on exit signs and railings.
When the Symphony of the Seas returned to port in Miami, the ship’s environmental officer contacted Dade County Wildlife Rescue and a biologist was dispatched to retrieve the digging owl. cave. There is only one hour from the time the passenger disembarks and the passenger gets on board for the onward journey to Mexico. The biologist placed a fog net near the owl’s favorite shelter, but failed to trap the bird. The owl flew to the 10th floor balcony to escape. When the crew made noise to distract the bird, the biologist sneaked up to the owl and cast a net.
The FWC stated that the burrowing owl appeared healthy after two weeks at sea, but the bird was transferred to the South Florida Wildlife Center as a precaution. The burrowing owl is listed as a threatened species in Florida and is one of the state’s smallest birds. Thankfully, this owl is safe after leaving Florida for a while.