One late afternoon, one of my neighbors called Tom & I and asked us to come over. They told us that they found a baby bird of some type and didn’t know what to do with it or how to care for it. So we ventured over and I couldn’t believe what they showed us…..
There it was … the cutest little baby owl – an eastern screech owl to be exact. I was so excited and remembered how 2 years ago, we had a pair of owls raise 3 babies in our backyard. Though I had continued to see them over the last 2 years, they didn’t nest in our yard this year or last. This little guy made my heart melt and I immediately called my friend Amy, who is a falconer and had just got an eastern screech owl of her own for advice. Tom immediately looked around for where the nest might have been and noticed a tree cavity not far from where it was found. He gently returned the young owlet and we kept watch on it to see if the parents would return. (Note: the image below is not my image).Before long, there they were … mom and dad. I couldn’t believe it when I saw them too. They were the same owls (no doubt about it) that raised their young with us. I was ecstatic to say the least.Over the few weeks or so, I visited often, from another neighbors yard who had a better view of the cavity. Using a long lens, and often teleconverters too, I photographed both the parents and the baby. At first, the young owlet seemed to be lost (size-wise) in the cavity.Mom is a beautiful gray morph and she was sleeping in the cavity when Tom first reunited the owlet with her. I guess that it must have climbed on the adult and fell out of the nest.
Dad is the red morph and he was almost always nearby.The young owlet would often peek out of the cavity.
Mom, and Dad also, was quite accepting of my presence and I always gave them no reason to be alarmed. Part of me wondered if they knew that we played a role in helping out their baby. Though I’m sure they would have taken care of it otherwise, it would have been vulnerable to the many cats in the neighborhood.Before long, the baby grew up and I knew that it wouldn’t be long before it would leave the nest. It was so cool to find them everyday standing guard over their baby. Such dedicated parents. This was the last shot that I took of the owlet before it fledged. I was so happy that it survived and hoped that it would survive being out of its nest as well. How cool was all of that? I’m so glad that my neighbors found it and knew to call us to assist in coming up with a plan of action to help it. Glad to help. Happy ending too. 🙂
Update: The last of these images was taken in mid-May. The cavity nest that the owls were using to raise their young was destroyed in a summer storm, though the young owl had already abandoned it. We weren’t sure what happened with the owls. However, the other night, Tom saw one of the owls fly by him. When he called me to come see it, two more joined the first. Though it was dark, we can only assume that it was this family. So good to know that they were well and that the “baby” was out hunting with them. 🙂
Next up: Osprey overload 🙂
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