I’m part of a team at Tri-State Bird Rescue called the Raptor Re-nesters who re-nest baby raptors that end up on the ground. Sometimes it’s okay for them to be on the ground but most of the calls we get are for birds that are too young to be out of the nest. The first calls we receive are for Great Horned Owl chicks which usually start in March.
Since the nests are either destroyed or up too high in a tree, we put wicker baskets in the same tree or a tree close to the nest tree. We secure the basket with bungee cords and then put pine needles inside.
Once the basket is in place, the owlet is put into a canvas bag…
And then pulled up to the basket…
The owlet is then placed inside his new home where he will stay until he’s old enough to branch. The adults will come to the basket to feed him and will even sit inside the basket.
This is the female adult keeping a close eye on me.
When owlets get to be a certain age, they’re considered “branchers” which means they aren’t quite ready to fly but can jump from branch to branch. Here is the same owlet getting ready to jump from the basket to a branch.
Looks like he made it!
We also get calls about re-nesting Eastern Screech Owl babies. Usually it’s because someone has cut down the tree with their nest hole. Here are three babies that lost their home.
We put up a nest box in the same area as the tree that had been cut down and put the owlets inside. The next day when someone went to check on them, they were greeted by a momma Screech Owl inside the box!
This Eastern Screech Owlet is a brancher so he was put on a tree branch in the vicinity of where he was found since the adults were still in the area. Check out the feet!
This is a Red-shouldered Hawk chick that was re-nested. We were able to get to this nest so the hawk was put back inside. I just love those fuzzy legs!
If you’re 16 years or older and have some free time and you love birds (and don’t we all?!), you might want to consider becoming a volunteer for Tri-State Bird Rescue!