There was no doubt the swallows sensed the danger, bursting into the air the moment the predator was released.

In the water below, a raft of ducks paddled swiftly in the other direction, making a slightly less frantic but still obvious retreat.

“If that was a larger owl one of those ducks would be history,” said Dan Frankian, after he released a five-inch grey screech owl at Humber Bay Park East.

Frankian is a falconer, and owner of Hawkeye Bird & Animal Control Inc. ( The company rehabilitates injured birds of prey and removes “pests” such as pigeons, geese, raccoons and skunks. They have locations in Oshawa and Halton Hills and serve the GTA.

Founded in 1987, Hawkeye rehabilitates anywhere between three to 30 birds every year. About 70 per cent of birds in their care survive, said Frankian.

Frankian expects the owl will migrate south for the winter, following local birds to the United States.

“It can figure out where it wants to go from here.”