May 24, 2013

Then there was four...

After a successful reunion of three fallen Western screech owls (story HERE), we considered adding a fourth - a foster.

During the same week the Los Altos owlets were found and delivered to PHS Wildlife Center, another baby owl was found in San Carlos. It, too, had fallen from its nest in a palm tree and was taken to PHS for care.

We decided not to attempt a reunion due to complications with the nest site, and apprehensive about adding it to the Los Altos nest box, as we didn't want to overburden the parents. 

A week later, we revisited the idea of fostering the little owl into the Los Altos box.

With a security camera giving us an inside view of the nest, we felt we could keep an eye on how things were going - if all the babies were getting enough to eat. We could also supplement their food by placing mice in the box, from time to time if need be. Bottom line, it was this little owl's best chance of growing up wild.

On the evening of May 16th, the little orphan owl was introduced into the Los Altos box. Check out the video.

The parents didn't seem to have any problem accepting the new addition.

On May 19th, we checked on the owlets and made some modifications to the nest box, raising the entrance a few inches and making the hole a tad smaller, attaching branches for them to drop onto when they fledged, and installing a better surveillance system that would stream, live, to the Internet through Ustream. 

Before leaving, we placed a few dead mice in the box to supplement what the parents were providing, just in case.

With our live-streaming "nest cam", we were able to keep an eye on the owlets and watch them grow. With every passing day they seemed to get more active, flapping their wings and taking turns perching at the entrance.

Last night, all the owlets fledged. This evening, they were heard in the canopy of the oak, adjacent to the nest. Success!


Anonymous said...

Ah, what a sweet, heart-warming story. You folks are heroes!!

Unknown said...

You guys are awesome!!
The owls sure do love you-whoo-whoo!!!

Lindsay said...

I can't imagine a better outcome.
Although I'm a bit sad that they are already fledged! I'll miss watching them!