On Tuesday evening we found a baby owl in our wooded back yard. We decided to leave the owlet alone and wait and see if the parents would rescue it. Since we have seen coyotes on our property we were nervous about leaving him on the ground very long. We waited several hours and went back out to check on him, about 9:30pm. He was still there and the mother owl was in a tree above him. She had adequate time to move him, so we decided we would get him off the ground but still give the mother access to him. We put him in a basket and placed it in an old washtub stand that we used as a planter out on our open back patio facing the woods. We were nervous about moving him at all as we feared his mother would attack, but she did not. The father was also circling nearby.
When my husband Mike got up for work on Wednesday morning, the mother owl was perched on the washtub, taking care of the owlet. When I went out about 7am, I checked the owlet and there were several dead birds and mice the mother had left as food. The mother was perched in a nearby tree watching my every move.
Since it was clear that the parents were going keep track of and care for the owlet, we came up with a plan. There was an old deer stand out in a remote wooded area of our property. We decided to wire a larger wicker basket to the top of the stand and monitor the owlets progress to see if the parents would continue to care for him. Indeed they did! My husband made a couple more trips up the stand to check on the owlet and sure enough there were several more fresh blood meals for the baby owlet.
We noticed both parents had roosted nearby and were watching us, so we made our visits quick. Our plan was a success, the baby owl was returned to the care of his parents and we will enjoy having another owl flying in our woods soon.
I had done some careful research on the internet about owl rescue. The method most used was to return the owl to a tree somehow and let the parents continue to feed it. We identified this owl as a Barred Owl. They lay 2-4 eggs in the month of March. They fledge (fly) 30-45 days after hatching. The parents continue to feed the owl after it has fledged for 4 months.