Great Horn Owl RESCUE mission accomplished !!

9 min read

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Iamidaho's avatar

****Update for everyone****
The owlets are doing great! I have checked up on them twice since we built the nest and they are all alive and well, just yesterday i observed them hopping around on the branch outside of the nest and flapping there wings preparing to take there first flight! It wont be long until they leave the nest!

if anyone is wondering, my internet provider is sporadically banning key ports to log onto deviant art through a home computer and I can not find a proxy that is not already blocked im living at my parents for the summer and its there house there rules and they think this ridiculous family filter is a necessity though it blocks more good content than it does bad I think, by chance i was able to slip in today and edit this journal but it is very sporadic and it will not let me submit any deviations. I have also been very busy with activities of the summer, and i have some fantastic photos for everyone from two recent trips to yellowstone :-) thanks for all your great comments :-)


Tonight was awesome!

Sunday night I get a call from one of my friends about a Great Horn Owl Nest that he found on his grandparents property just a few miles away from the South East corner of Yellowstone. The nest had slipped and one of the owls had fallen out and he found the owlet on the ground and returned it to its nest on Saturday night. The wind up here has been HOWLING the past couple days with gusts up to 60 miles an hour.

He wanted to drive up and check up on the little guys and see how they were doing, he did not have to ask me twice.
Upon arriving we found the nest had broken in half and one side had fallen about 2 and a half feet from where it once stood, one owlet was huddled on the ground next to the base of the tree, one was under mothers wing and the other was above where the nest originally was. To make matters worse the portion of the nest that had fallen had the entire weight of it suspended on a twig smaller than my pinkie! All the while the wind is gusting 20-30 miles an hour!
Not a good situation for the little fella's indeed, Mom was very nervous about the entire situation,
Sharp Eyes by Iamidaho

Before I go any further I want to explain that Great Horn owls do not build nests rather they find old abandoned nests of hawks and other larger birds and use them.

Continuing on our next course of action is to call the authority that should handle the situation,Idaho Fish and Game the person on the other end of the line quite lazily tells us that they normally 'let nature take its course'. While i understand that there may not be the resources to do anything his attitude about the situation really bugged me.

Well I took a few more shots of the owlet on the ground, and i just could not say no,
could you to a face like this?
Great Horned Owlet by Iamidaho Gho rescue 2 by Iamidaho owlet 3 by Iamidaho

as much as a believer in letting nature function on its own, I wanted to give the trio one last chance at making it, figuring that they had nothing to lose and everything to gain we decided to build them a new home!

*I want to stress that you should always ALWAYS Call the proper authority's FIRST its there job to do this and in some areas or with certian species they would be there in a hurry. The Great Horn Owl is thanks to reintroduction efforts considered common in Idaho which is probably a big portion for the lack of enthusiasm from IDFG to want to come and do anything. Lastly keep in mind that Rules regarding wildlife and human interaction are EXTREMELY different about this scenario when this is encountered within wildlife refugees and National Parks so its best to do this on private land only.

Also a few other ground rules about nest building 101 remember this is a LAST resort effort.
1. WEAR GLOVES, these birds have sharp talons and beaks that can hurt you. Not only that but your scent is damming to them if they smell too strongly of human they will be abandonded.
2. DONT PET THEM, FEED THEM, CONSOLE THEM ECT. Keep contact to an absolute minimum needed for the job.
3. USE material from the original nest, the more the better. the smells help the parents identify this as there new home and help block your scents.
4. Take excess material AWAY from the nest site that falls to the ground.  This stuff is full of scents that predators can key on, take them a good walk away from the nest to help protect there new home.
5. Once complete GET AWAY AND STAY AWAY. mom will be nervous as all get go by now and needs time alone to think about what to do next!

I am not a professional so I am sure there are more rules to the scenario, but this is a good start :-)

So without further ado up and away we go!
GHO Rescue by Iamidaho

The owlets kept a close eye on our construction project
Great Horn Owlet 2 by Iamidaho

We used a old milk crate for the nest attached to multiple branches with twine, should be very sturdy even in the 60 mile an hour winds we are experincing.
Attaching the crate by Iamidaho

And one last parting shot of the happy new home with the residents,
new home by Iamidaho

I hope to check up on the guys soon and see how they enjoy the new place.
I hope the mother accepts it we are keeping our fingers crossed! She watched from a distance the whole time, and while we were in the tree actually came within 6 feet of us with a mouse in its mouth, I hope this is a very good sign she will take care of the owlets despite our interaction.

One last thing for today,
I want to give a HUGE HUGE THANK YOU for my Third Daily Deviation on my photo titled Greed! What an honor!

© 2009 - 2021 Iamidaho
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Heliocyan's avatar
Ooh, what a great story!!! :) :)
FlockingOwls's avatar
What an awesome story!! I wish there was a way to :+fav: journal stories...At the very least, I offer you an invitation to =FlockingOwls - a club for owl enthusiast :D It's still relatively new, and so could use some maybe an owl FAQ kind of thing ;P
marshmallow-pies's avatar
Hip-hip-hooray :) I'm really glad to here they're doing well. Nice work!
ThisWomanWanders's avatar
Thanks for the update! So glad they are doing well. Hope you have a happy and productive summer. :)
kennyc's avatar
Thanks for the followup on this!
kkart's avatar
Mobile Broadband time? :D
Iamidaho's avatar
lol somethings gotta give in my budget before that!
100 bucks a month Yuck!
kkart's avatar
100-? Where on earth do you see that at? It's like $39
gwilym's avatar
Excellent news. Bloody good work. xx
PeterJCoskun's avatar
glad to hear the owlets are doing great, ive been observing a great horned owl lately that has a nest nearby but have yet to find it
XoLilSquirtoX's avatar
thats really great (owelets)
omg a filter on your parents comp? really :'D thats almost funny except im looking forward to seeing your shots and you cant post them :|
anyways good luck with that :]
chalutplease's avatar
Thanks for posting an update. I was wondering if you had been back to check on them, I know I would have been.

Too bad about the internet. Do you have a public library or a college library nearby? I was surprised to learn that my college library has computers that don't need a college sign on for you to use and that includes the internet. It's the local college and any taxpayer is welcome to walk in and use it.
jayshree's avatar
I'm so happy it worked out. :hug:
HeyBurton's avatar
Excellent news on the update! Thanks for keeping us posted! Looking forward to more pics when you get better access...
ariseandrejoice's avatar
sounds like you handled the situation beautifully - what a wonderful adventure! Thank you!!!
Zoethebfe's avatar
That's awesome that you guys were there to capture this & help the little guys out :highfive:
MithiorenIthere's avatar
Wow, what an experience... I comprehend what you say about "letting nature take its course", and I agree with you. Sometimes, authorities and scientists only worry abour what is endangered or rare, but I believe every living being has its value itself. And who can tell if the most common species won't be in danger in the future. Seeing how humankind has been behaving, I think every single species is potentially endangered. So every little effort we do is worthy.

I hope things go well for these fellas ^_^ Tell us, if you know!
SweetAngel17's avatar
Let nature take it's course? That seems so cruel to me. Those little babies could die if nature takes it's course. I'd definitely want to help in that situation, especially if the proper authorities were in no hurry or would not come out to help. I hope the mother stays and takes care of the little ones and that they'll be ok. And I'm glad I found the one close up and came to the directed link to this journal. That is great information to know before you step in to help.
StringOfLights's avatar
Whoops, Part 2 was this same journal updated. Huh. Guess I haven't been using dA that much lately...

Anyway, this is a really awesome story. These birds are just stunning, and I hope the little owlets make it.

This is kind of weird, but... I work for an ornithology collection at a museum, and a lot of the specimens we get come from wildlife centers. I did a "bird run" for them when I visited my parents about a year ago, and all the specimens have to be frozen, so I ended up stashing them in the freezer in my parents' garage for a night (mom thought it was awesome, dad was horrified). A great horned owl was among the 50 or so birds I got, and holding him...I mean, realizing how huge they really are, and how incredibly light. I envy your experience with this little family.
StringOfLights's avatar
That's awesome... I have to go read Part 2 now. Those little fuzzballs are the most adorably ugly things I've ever seen. :D
DGAnder's avatar
Cool, I did the same thing a year ago, mom came back
and raised junior in the lg wicker basket nest I made and
nailed 15 ft up in a tree.. What a thrill to watch mom and
baby react from our bedroom window as baby grew.
meihua's avatar
This is such an inspiring story :) so cool
XoLilSquirtoX's avatar
what a thing to experience!!
i congratulate you
Andarelle's avatar
Very, very cool - great job :D
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