You always read about adorable dogs and sweet kittens who are in need of a home. Readers consistently get news updates about the ongoing problems with bunnies fucking like rabbits in Oakland. Even the Scrub Jay has gotten his share of (negative) press.
But never owls. Those birds are always left out of the headlines.
However, that may change in the next hour or so when the Peninsula Humane Society plans to re-nest three Great Horned Owls -- and all the media are invited.
The owlets came into the SPCA's care last Saturday when they were found grounded by a park ranger, near the base of a eucalyptus tree in a popular county park. Officials believe the nest fell apart, and the babies were separated from their parents. Luckily the owls weren't injured.
But it's important to re-nest the owls ASAP so they don't forget how to take care of themselves. Placing them back in the wild will give the birds a chance to hunt and avoid predators, recognize noises, and find their own damn food. So later this afternoon, arborists will gently place the owlets into a new nest 30 to 40 feet up the tree. Afterward, PHS staff will monitor the birds and watch out for signs of their parents.
"Orphaned young owls, such as these, generally require up to four months of care before they are mature enough to be released and on their own. However, re-nesting, when possible, is a much better option, says Scott Delucchi, spokesman for the PHS. "Not only is it less of a stretch on resources for the rehab facility -- the owlets must be fed 5-6 times daily for several weeks -- but it is much better for the young owls."
The plan will only work if the youngsters' parents return promptly; volunteers will play a recording of an artificial owlet cry to lure the parents back home. If there's no sign of the parents within 24 hours, PHS staff will take the nestlings back into their care.