Wildlife group rescues young owl after fall from nest

Updated: Mar. 25, 2021 at 6:43 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A part of Bryan Park is roped off in order to keep people from bothering a family of owls. The family is getting a lot more attention this week after one of the babies fell from its nest.

“We came out to do a field rescue, and determined that the owl was too young to be out of the nest,” said Melissa Stanley with the Richmond Wildlife Center.

She said she got calls on Monday evening and came out first thing Tuesday to find the bird, which had feathers that weren’t developed enough for it to fly.

While on the ground for two days, the young bird garnered lots of attention from “the general public, professional wildlife photographers, dog walkers, small children” and others, according to Stanley.

The goal was to get the owlette back 90 ft. up to its family, and so Stanley got the help of arborists with Commonwealth Tree Care.

“We set a line in the tree and then we used a gas-powered ascender to actually get us to the top,” said Lawson Patton.

As the rain came down on Wednesday, the crews did what they had to but it wasn’t just Mother Nature giving them issue.

“The parents being up there, as well, was a little nerve-wracking. There was no guarantee that you would not taloned, or get lunged at. The larger owls are definitely protective of their babies,” Patton said.

The great-horned owl was eventually brought back home to mom, dad and three siblings, but now comes the challenge of making sure it can live undisturbed.

“We need to give these owls time and fully develop. They’re hopping out on branches, but they’re just starting to do that. They probably have two weeks before they become full fledglings,” Stanley said, adding that it might be an additional two weeks before the young owls can fully fly.

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