Tuesday, November 8, 2011
A BASKET CASE
Napa Valley Register.com
When the babies nest was destroyed by high winds the raptor team from Wildlife Rescue Center of Napa County flew to rescue. When the team arrived,they identified the babies as great horned owlets, approximately two and a half weeks old.
They were about the size of grapefruits and covered in a layer of white fuzzy down.
"We could see that the hatchlings were cold, having been without the warmth of their mother, but were in otherwise good condition."
They were pleased to discover that no injuries had occurred from the fall and that both babies were healthy. This meant that the tiny great horned owlets were perfect candidates for renesting.
Knowing how vital it was to reunite the young fallen owlets. They were rehydrated and the babies placed in an incubator for warmth.
After returning to the nest site, it was decided that the wind-blown nest was too damaged to withstand the weight of the growing babies and their mother.
This meant that a makeshift nest would have to be used in place of the original weathered residence. Another key component in reuniting the owl family came when an adult great horned owl was spotted in a tree near the broken nest. This was an excellent sign, and we could only assume that this was one of the parents. While the owlets recovered from shock and warmed up in the incubator, we quickly formulated a plan to replace the old nest and put a new, sturdier nest — and the babies — back up into the tree.
The adult great horned owl that had been seen earlier that day was still in a tree close by, so they left the nest site and hoped the owl family would reconnect before nightfall. After several nerve-wracking hours, they returned to check on the family at dusk. Relieved to find the great horned owl mother in the new laundry basket nest with her babies.