Friday, April 2, 2010

Barred Owls Reunited in Birmingham

On Saturday, March 27th, the Alabama Wildlife Center recieved a call from a jogger that baby owls had fallen from their nest behind the Jewish Community Center in Birmingham.  Our wonderful volunteers, Duane and Lynn volunteered to go pick the owl up and inspect the area to decide if a reunite was possible.  When they arrived, they found that one of the babies was killed from the fall but the other nestling seemed fine. 

Baby Raptor #6 of 2010

Almost immediately, they saw an adult Barred Owl fly in and land in a tree nearby.  While inspecting the area, they noticed the cavity tree was completely rotten and would most likely fall during the next severe weather event so placing the baby back in the cavity would not be a good solution. 
Nest tree

After a full exam at the Center, I returned to the nest site with Duane and Lynn, a ladder and a nest box, we hiked to the nest site and decided on a tree that was away from the trails and had a good understory. 
Duane securing the nest box

While Duane was installing the nest box, I looked up and saw a little bit of downy feathers moving around in the original nest cavity.  Since these nestlings were so young, they would need the warmth of the parent to get thru the night and putting our baby in the nest box would mean that one of them would get neglected.  We decided to take the original baby back to the Center because, unfortunately, we didn't have a tall ladder to get nestling from the cavity tree. We decided to come back the next day to retrieve the other baby and place him in the nest box with its sibling. We knew Mom and Dad weren't going anywhere.

Mom watching our every move

A new day, a taller ladder and a net helped us retrieve the other baby from the cavity.  After putting the baby in the nest box and watching mom and dad for a while, we took our equipment back to our vehicles and went back to the area in a hidden spot to make sure the parents found their babies. 

Baby in a bucket and Duan putting baby in the box

We glanced up to the cavity and there, peaking out, was yet another nestling Barred Owl! It is pretty unusual for Barred Owls to have a nest of 4 babies, especially in an area of constant foot, bike and dog traffic. 
Nestling in the tree

We retrieve our ladder and net, climb back up and were lucky enough to get the nestling to grab onto the net, lowered down and placed in the nestbox with its siblings.
Trying to capture the baby

Making sure baby #4 is ok.

Dad roosting in a nearby Pine Tree

Mom Barred Owl

At last check, both parents were very near the nest box and the babies are doing great. Alabama Wildlife Center's 3rd successful reunite of 2010 and many more to come in the following months.
Jessie Griswold
Raptor Rehabilitation Coordinator

1 comment:

  1. great job jessie!!! keep the good work up!!! this is posted by joy and amanda!!! we love you!!!!