But now is the time farmers start moving those hay bales, and the baby owls lose their homes. There is no shelter for birds in the Tri-Cities, so one Benton City woman is taking matters into her own hands.
"It's still OK to move their nests, as long as you give them some place else
they can be," said Michele Caron, who rescues the owls and shelters them in a
hut on her property until they can live on their own.
She began the operation four years ago, when she started working with Blue
Mountain Wildlife in Oregon, shuttling the birds she rescued to the
rehabilitation center in Pendleton.
Every year since, she and a few other volunteers have rescued about 50 owl
babies a year.
"We realized we had a baby problem, barn owl babies, so we set up the hack
boxes," she said.
The boxes are made of wood, and secured in tree branches or near hay bales. She
makes them herself. If the owls make a nest in the boxes, their families can
still stay together after farmers move the bales.
She says, if farmers just look for the owls, that's enough.
"If the farmers inspected the stacks before they moved them, we'd be happy to
hack them out," she said.
Caron has taken in almost a dozen owl babies this year alone. She feeds them
until they are strong enough to go up in the boxes, where they live until they
can start to fly and hunt. When they do, she says, they are a huge help to farms
"They're absolutely incredible creatures, and for farmers, they're extremely
advantageous for rodent control," said Caron. "So there is a practical benefit
to them too."
They're so practical, the average nest of five babies and their parents, will
eat 30,000 rodents in the five weeks they are growing up at home.
However, their mother is really the only one who should be feeding them. That's
why Caron throws their food in from behind, out of their view.
"Lots of people help, they try to feed them themselves, but without knowing the
proper diet, a lot of harm can be done," said Caron.
Caron will put some of the baby owls in a hack box next week. She plans to put a
tiny video camera in the box with them, and pod-cast their growth and
development live. That way, she can learn more about their feeding habits and
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from ST MARYS GA wrote: "- we have been watching 2 Great Horned Owl babies 3 - 4 weeks (my husband says 6 weeks though I disagree). Mama Owl was spotted sitting on a nest in, of all places, a beautiful oak tree,the lowest limb of the tree, hanging over the street, in front of our elementary school. It's as if she wanted the school kids to learn about her species. The babies seem to be sitting on nothing more than a bed of ivy but when we had winds at 35 miles per hour one night, the eggs where still in place the following day, so there must be something that held them in place. At 1st,all we could see of the babies were their solid white heads. They are now standing and one is twice to three times the size of the other. I am concerned for the smaller one as he/she seems to be just lieing there. Their eggs were found on the asphalt on the busiest day for the city, Maudr Gras Day, a day we have a long parade and the entire city come out to celebrate. Their poop was next to be seen on the parking space and one is as interested in looking at people that are looking them as we are. There is a steady stream of people coming to see them. They are over a painted parking space in the middle of our small city street Osborne Street -Saint Marys, GA,the 2nd oldest city in America. I came across this page looking to see what to do when they begin to fly. If they fall to the ground, they will fall on the asphalt of the highway and probably die. Someone will surely try to help them if they are learning to fly because no one knows that we should not pick them up unless they look hurt as I learned on this site. Thank you"