Jun 25, 2011

Barn owls, barn owls, barn owls...

You guessed it - another re-nesting! 
This is what was left after the owl box
fell apart: a mound of owl pellets
 excrement, and what not.

This successful reunion of 2 owlets in Palo Alto spanned three days and took a 'village' of caring and dedicated people. 

It started out when the decades-old (and well-used) nest-box gave way. 

The baby owls were recovered, unharmed, by Officer Cushman from Palo Alto Animal Services.

The owlets were taken to nearby WIldlife Rescue, a wildlife hospital managed by the Peninsula Humane Society (PHS), where they were examined and treated for mild dehydration. Since they were otherwise very healthy, they could be returned home... 

...except their old home was in pieces.

That's when the folks at the Palo Alto Wastewater Treatment Plant (where the nest was located) went to work on a new home for the owlets. Brian Jones rushed to Home Depot and had the box built before sundown. The facility's maintenance crew - Aaron, Pedro, and Robert worked on making sure the new box was secure. Margaret Adkins, who was instrumental in this rescue, made sure the box was lined with some of the original material.

On Wednesday afternoon one of WildRescue's responders, Mary Kenney, was flying high in a cherry picker.

A big Thank You! to Lead Lineman, Gary Schulz, and his employees, Isaac, Kevin, Tito, and David for so generously providing the bucket truck!

With the babies in their new home, the task was just about complete... we just need to confirm the box was acceptable to the parent owls. Mary Kenney offered to do the stakeout. Here her account:
I staked out the nesting box last night from about 8:30 to10 PM and sighted an adult Barn Owl leaving the box twice during that time. I could hear the owlets chattering away inside as well. This is good news! I think we can assume that their lives have picked up where they left off after their little adventure. : }
Please pass on our appreciation to Ignacio, the plant supervisor last night, and again to all the crew who helped out on Wednesday. 

Thank you, Everyone, for a job well done!!!

Next up, a re-nesting of even more barn owls at the Alameda Fairgrounds this coming week. ... to be continued...


Anonymous said...

What a sweet story! I am a bit concerned though, as I don't see anything for them to "branch" onto when they start to come out of the box. I have heard that by providing branches/ perches the owlets stand a much better chance from falls.


WildRescue said...

Thank you for your comment. It is a valid concern. However, the box design is such that the fledglings are developed enough by the time they are able to reach the entrance that they can, at the very least, flutter, if not fly. We have had tremendous success with our box designs that are based on those used by the Carolina Raptor Center.