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Apple retail workers help save Barred Owl that flew into Portland store window

By Mikey Campbell

Employees at Apple Pioneer Place in Portland, Ore., arrived at work early one November morning to a surprising scene: a Barred Owl, a rare sight in the city, dazed and standing atilt next to the store's two-story glass facade.

The night prior, the winged predator, swooping through town with a half-eaten rat in its maw, apparently slammed into one of the many massive glass panels that make up a modern Apple store's walls and fell some 20 feet to the ground below. Known as a window strike, the event left the owl dazed, confused and vulnerable, reports Audubon Portland.

Apple's Pioneer Place outlet, which was approved in 2012, boasts an "Apple store 2.0" design with a high-flung roof propped up by three mostly-glass walls. The idea is to create an open-air feel for customers, and to allow passersby a good look at the products laid out on display tables inside.

When Apple staff arrived at the store the next morning, they used chairs to create a protective barrier around the owl, then alerted the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to the incident. ODFW personnel subsequently captured the animal and delivered it to Audubon's Wildlife Care Center, where it was treated for injuries.

A few days later, the owl was on the road to recovery, with no broken bones or life-threatening ailments commonly associated with window collisions. Audubon later updated its report to note the raptor was successfully treated and released into the wild.

With modern buildings trending toward glass-and-steel architecture, birds are increasingly at risk of potentially fatal window strikes. And like the owners of many newly constructed or renovated structures, Apple is no stranger to these collisions.

Last month, for example, Apple said it would dim store lights at its new North Michigan Ave. flagship in Chicago on a nightly basis to avoid bird strikes during this year's migration season. The company was alerted to a potential window strike epidemic after a local watchdog group discovered a number of dead birds around the store.

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