Mar 5, 2011


This week, WildRescue was called upon to assist with a clutch of barn owl eggs. They were first discovered at a construction site in San Martin on Monday by workers installing a roof on a once-abandoned structure. Roofers saw a large bird fly from an alcove when they arrived in the mornings. On inspection, they found the small white near-round eggs of a barn owl - and dead mice. 

Thankfully, the owner of HTX Builders (San Jose) was concerned for the welfare of the eggs and knew that bird nests were protected by law. Wild birds and their nests are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and it is federal crime to disturb the nests or destroy the eggs.

Work in the immediate area was halted. We inspected the site, as did an agent from US Fish & Wildlife Service. We concluded the best option was to remove the eggs - something that is usually never done, but in this case, for the un-hatched owlets, it seemed the only option. We were granted permission to do so.

Deanna Barth, one of our newly recruited wildlife rescue technicians, carefully removed the eggs yesterday. She handed them off to Max Salamander who shared the 100 mile journey to deliver the eggs to International Bird Rescue in Fairfield. They were immediately placed into a state-of-the-art incubator that will keep them at just the right temperature and turn them as needed until they hatch - with luck, in 30 days.

As for the adults, it is early enough in the year that the couple should be able to produce at least one, if not two, additional clutches. All they need is a nice safe spot to call their own.

Wednesday we are planning a Barn Owl Box Raising! The owners of the rural property agreed to let us place at least one owl box on site - far from the construction zone. This permanent fixture will no doubt see numerous owls into the world for years to come.

Note: Barn owls are an excellent option for rodent control. Even the young can consume the equivalent of 12 mice each per night. And, owl boxes are not just for countryside homes, they can successfully support barn owls in urban environments. Contact us for information on installing a box on your property! Here is a drawing of our boxes. In cooler areas the extra shelter is not necessary.