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Great Horned Owl Chick Finds His Way Home



Two weeks ago, the PAWS Wildlife Center received a call from a very confused park maintenance staff member at the Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park in Redmond. The employee had been conducting a routine sweep of the park, along one of their heavily used pathways, when she came across a Great Horned Owl chick sitting on the ground looking quite stunned. Directly above, she spied the mother owl and two other chicks peering down from the branches more than 50 feet above.

The park worker was concerned that the extensive fall had severely injured the owl, so she brought him to PAWS to be checked out. Upon arrival, the owl chick had already perked up significantly, but a low red blood cell count in the bird's initial blood work indicated that he was slightly anemic.

Great Horned Owl chick arrives at PAWS

Just to be safe, the PAWS Wildlife Center staff decided to keep the chick overnight in order to monitor his progress. The following day, the veterinary staff did a full check up and found the owl to be not only uninjured by his 50 foot descent, but also that his blood cell count was back in normal range. With this great news, PAWS staff rushed to get the chick back to his mother as quickly as possible.

The chick was driven back to the Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park where the park staff member helped locate the mother and two siblings. In a neighboring tree, PAWS staff constructed a make-shift nest out of a plastic laundry basket filled with leaves, and suspended it by rope 10 feet in the air.

Great Horned Owl makeshift nest

The Great Horned Owl chick was then placed into the new “nest” where he immediately burrowed in amongst the leaves. Meanwhile, the mother owl was watching all this very closely from her lofty vantage point. Everyone then cleared the area to give the mother and her chick some peace and quiet, and hoped for the best.

Great Horned Owl chick in the nest

The next day, PAWS received an excited phone call from Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park with an update: the makeshift nest was empty, and the mother owl could be seen far up in the trees, with not two but three white puff-ball chicks perched on the branch beside her.

Jamie Thomas
PAWS Assistant Wildlife Rehabilitator



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Thanks so much for this story, Jamie! I love the photos, too. Excellent work by everyone!

Wow! What a great story! Thank you for sharing it!

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