Barred Owl Chicks Rescue
Please remember to look up before cutting down trees. A homeowner had cut down an old rotten oak that was threatening his house. When it hit the ground, he noticed that a few baby barred owls spilled out, so he called the Northwoods Wildlife Center to see what should be done to help them.
The director, Bryon Black was working that day and after consulting with Sheridan Perry, one of the wildlife rehabilitators at the Northwoods Wildlife Center, a plan was put together to help. When he got their, the owlet’s parents could be seen and heard hooting nearby, so the hope was that the owlets would be able to be reunited with mom and dad. But, the owlets had retreated up the narrow log cavity and were out of reach. So a new hole was very carefully cut into the tree, about as far away as they thought they could go while allowing Black to be able reach the chicks. The guess was good, and one by one, and with a little persuasion (thumping the log as seen in one of the clips) the owlets were safely removed from the fallen tree. After a field examination, the owlets were determined to be in good shape, if not a little disheveled and dirty. Black then installed an open nesting box in a nearby tree so the Mom would easily be able to see and hear them.
To everyone’s relief, the mother did indeed find them that evening. She immediately started bringing them food, and even made some upgrades to the nest to provide better shelter from the elements. If you are a homeowner, and have a tree that needs to come down, the Northwoods Wildlife Center requests that you first determine if there are any animals making their homes in the tree. The Wildlife Center treats hundreds of baby animals, as well as parents, that were in trees when the tree was cut down. But they can work with you to determine whether or not other options exist.
Sometimes, you just need to wait a while until the animals grow up enough to move out on their own. Other times, the Northwoods Wildlife Center can assist in re-nesting the animals.
Barred Owl Release
This Barred Owl was found in mid-February in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, not flying and barely walking. When we went to pick it up, we could tell he was very emaciated and potentially dehydrated. When we got him back to the Northwoods Wildlife Center, our rehabbers noticed he had some broken primary flight feathers. They also performed some tests and determined he was suffering from trichomoniasis, which is treatable in birds.
Additionally, the weather had been awful for owls around that time. A thaw, combined with rain, left a hard crust layer on top of the snow. It can be challenging for owls to hear and get at their prey through the snow in these conditions. Knowing what happens to an animal in the wild is often impossible. But we suspect the hard icy snow had something to do with his condition.
With medications for trichomoniasis and a healthy diet of fish and mice, he started improving. It wasn’t long before he started trying to fly, and we knew it was time for him to move to our newly renovated avian flight building. This facility allows them to stretch their wings, allowing us to assess how well they are flying. He looked strong, and after a couple of weeks, we knew it was time to get him back home in the wild near where we found him. It took him just a few seconds to get his bearings, and then he flew toward the forest.