Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pell City Barred Owls Reunited

A call came in to the Alabama Wildlife Center at 5:00pm on April 18th from Sandra Jean, one of AWC's Board members, about a juvenile Barred Owl that was found in the middle of the road in Pell City, Alabama.  Volunteer transporter, Dave Grisky, met Sandra Jean in Leeds and brought the owl to be examined for injuries to AWC by 7:30pm.  After a full exam and health check, the Barred Owl was deemed healthy and arrangements for a reunite were immediately underway.

The following day, Sandra Jean worked hard to make sure we had the means to put the baby back into its original nest or secure an artificial nest to a tree.  Sam and I headed out Monday afternoon and upon arrival, began looking for the nest and thought we had found a cavity that the baby had fallen from.  Both parents were flying around and calling and we heard another juvenile Barred Owl call somewhere in the thick tangle of Privit, Poison Ivy and understory trees.

Parent Barred Owl - Photo by Sam Griswold

After searching a bit more, we located the actual nest about 20 yards away.  Several songbird feathers, a dead mouse and numerous droppings confirmed that it was their nest.

Original Nest - Photo by Sam Griswold

The original nest did not appear to have any other juveniles in it and it was too high up to reach, so we decided that we could place a nest basket in a tree nearby.  While waiting for the 30 foot ladder to arrive, we started getting the nest basket ready and supplies that we would need to lift the baby up.  On a trip to the car, Sam found another juvenile perched in some low vines, shrubs and branches.

Sibling perched in understory - Photo by Sam Griswold

Sibling, close up - Photo by Sam Griswold

Mike, a neighbor and original finder, arrived with the ladder and took the nest basket up to secure it to the tree.

Mike securing nest basket - Photo by Jessie Griswold

After securing the nest, it was my turn to climb the ladder and slowly bring the juveniles up one at a time in a bucket.
Juvenile Barred Owl in the bucket - Photo by Sam Griswold

Putting the first Juvenile in the basket - Photo by Sam Griswold

It was pretty unnerving to climb that high up.  But putting those babies back with there parents was much more important than my fear of falling.  The parents kept getting closer and closer as well and were not very happy that I was so near their babies.  We gathered all our gear and left the parents to tend to their young.

In nest basket in tree - Photo by Jessie Griswold

The following evening Sandra Jean called us back about one of the babies on the ground again.  We arranged for a transport in case there may be something wrong with it.  The baby seemed healthy and was tested to be sure he was a brancher.  I reaturned to the nest site Wednesday evening and placed the baby on a branch that he would be able to access other branches and work his way back up into the canopy.
Both parents were seen and heard.

BR24 on a branch - Photo by Jessie Griswold

Brancher Barred Owls are notorious for moving constantly up and down the canopy of their parents territory.  We often get calls about juveniles that are on the ground, but end up being healthy branchers. 

Its so importat we receive all juvenile raptors immediately and we get all location information, so that if they are healthy, we can return them to their parents as quickly as possible.  For more information, visit our

Jessie Griswold
Raptor Rehabilitation Coordinator

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