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Phoenix Wildlife Center rescues owlets, builds new nest that reunites bird family

The Phoenix Wildlife Center made the news in April when they helped rescue two baby owls and reunite them in a new nest with their parents. Here's the full story by Brittany Britto for the Baltimore Sun.

Two great horned owlets were separated earlier this week after their nest was blown apart by strong winds, but Baltimore County’s Phoenix Wildlife Center reunited the baby owls, building them a makeshift nest and, according to the center, their mother has returned.

The center’s director, Kathleen Woods, said that the rescue service picked up one of the displaced owls and brought it to the shelter earlier this week after responding to a call that someone had spotted the bird alone on the ground. Woods said they later discovered that its nest had been blown off the 70-foot white pine tree, and that its sibling was still located in the tree.

Baby owls are often born with big feet and big beaks that enable them to climb trees, but in this case, Woods said the bark of the pine tree was too smooth, and the owl that fell weighed a little over a pound, which was no competition for the strong winds that day. So the center gave the baby bird a lift.

Arborist Christopher D. Tattersall volunteered to climb the tree using ropes, and the center made a makeshift nest from a laundry basket. Just a couple feet up from the newly secured nest Tattersall spotted the owl sibling on a branch, Woods said.

“He grabbed him and put him in the nest, and then sent up the other owl baby in a little container and put it in the basket,” Woods said, adding that the mother owl was also present when the center first arrived, but she flew away when Tattersall entered the tree.

Woods said that building the new nest was necessary since great horned owls don’t typically build their own nests. Instead, they take over a nest that was previously built.

And luckily, the owl mother saw the laundry basket fit for her new home. By the next morning, a friend of the center mentioned that the mother had returned.

Woods said it was an exciting rescue and that it’s important for the public to call rescue services when spotting an animal in need.

“If people find something like this or observe something like this, the best thing is to leave the baby where it is and call us and we’ll respond,” she said.

Photos by Hugh Simmons

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