Trained owl fails to return to Point Defiance Zoo while rehearsing for show

Staff writerApril 17, 2014 

One of the stars of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s theater is doubling as an escape artist.

Forrest the Eurasian eagle owl, who performs in the Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater, was rehearsing Wednesday when he flew off and didn’t come back.

For years, Forrest has routinely flown away as part of the show and returned. On Wednesday, while practicing for a new show, he was “startled” by changes recently made to the stage, zoo staff members said.

Staff biologists spotted Forrest several times Wednesday but haven’t seen him since the late afternoon. Neither have they been able to pick up a signal from a device used to track the owl.

“Forrest likely is sitting high up in a tree and may be surrounded by a mob of crows unhappy about the owl’s presence in their territory,” staff biologist Sara Mattison said.

Biologists think Forrest has sheltered himself from the rain in trees just outside the zoo, spokeswoman Kris Sherman said. They searched for him all Thursday, and expected to head back out at first light Friday, she said. 

The owl likes people and could give a hoot if he sees you.

Forrest has lived at the Tacoma zoo since he was a few months old; he is now 9 years old. He is 2 feet tall with a wingspan of 5 feet and has bright orange eyes.

Anyone who spots Forrest is asked to call the zoo at 253-591-5337 or email An after-hours email – – is monitored around the clock.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

Staff writer Alexis Krell contributed to this report.


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