Three are pictured here, upon their arrival.
Barn Owls are one of the most common species struck by aircraft at the airport.
If they had not been captured for relocation, these young owls, especially when they’re first learning to fly, would have faced a good chance of being killed by aircraft.
In an effort to keep Barn Owls and aircraft safe and as part of a Raptor Strike Avoidance Program, Sea-Tac’s Senior Wildlife Biologist Steve Osmek and Raptor Biologist Bud Anderson of the Falcon Research Group have constructed nest boxes and erected them in several areas around the airport hoping that Barn Owls would nest there. Mr. Osmek said, “We knew Barn Owls were nesting somewhere near the airport and now that they’re using our nest boxes, we’re able to capture and relocate them to a better area.”
These four Barn Owlets will be raised at the PAWS Wildlife Center until they are old enough to hunt on their own. Efforts are underway to find another active nest box with other owlets of the same age. We could then place the new owlets into that nest and allow a set of foster parents the chance to naturally care for the owls.
This fostering effort has worked well in the past with young Red-tailed Hawks and Osprey relocated away from Sea-Tac Airport. It is also a common practice in raptor rehabilitation to utilize wild foster parents for orphaned raptors of various species. So for now, the owls are here at PAWS, possibly for several more weeks until they can be released back into the wild, and hopefully can steer clear of airports.
(Photo courtesty Bud Anderson)
(Photo courtesy Patrick Viehoever)