I got a call from my friend Ali about a baby Barred Owl that had fallen from the nest. She was heading out to check on it, but didn’t have much time. She asked if I could come and provide some guidance as to what to do in this situation and possibly transport the bird if it was injured or too young to be out of the nest.
To be honest, I haven’t rescued many young birds. You are supposed to try to get them back into the nest, but this is a big bird in a high nest and I am short. I was willing to give it my best shot!
The homeowner was concerned about the owl being out of the nest because they have a dog. They did not want the dog to find the bird and injure it. They were also concerned about cats, hawks, foxes, and coyotes finding the bird. When I arrived, the bird had relocated itself into the top of a bush. It was hidden, but not in a great place for a young owl. I carefully removed the bird from the bush and checked it for injuries. I did not find any injuries.
What to do?
There was a ladder next to the tree, but there was no way I was going to be able to get it back into the nest without a taller ladder! The bird looked young to me, so I wanted to get it as close to the nest as possible. The nest was probably about 6 feet above and 3 feet away from the ladder. It seemed too far for the little owl to go, so I placed the owl in the kennel in my car and contacted Tim Jasinski at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center. We were concerned about the lack of leaves and cover for the bird, but mom was close by.
Tim said to try to put the owl back in the tree, so that’s what I did! Climbed the ladder and waited for the baby to grip the branch before letting it go. Meanwhile mom was calling from the tree to my right and she didn’t sound too happy, but she did not attack me! Climbing a ladder with an owl in my hand was a tad nerve-racking, but I felt confident in the decision to leave it with its family!