Rescuing and nurturing a great horned owl

Despite popular belief, nurture and nature are not mutually exclusive concepts, even with animals in the wild.

Great horned owl

Take the great horned owl, for instance. One arrived at Best Friends recently, having been discovered on someone’s back patio. The startled homeowner found him peering inside the house, not admiring the furniture but more than likely looking at his own reflection in the glass door, believing it to be another owl. Since he’s still a nestling, he hasn’t quite gotten the hang of flying, and without a mom around, he needs a safe place to stay until he does.

Nurturing a wild bird

He’s in perfectly fine shape, but needs some assistance in the nurturing department. Since he’s only about four weeks old, he has yet to learn all the skills an owl requires to survive in the wild, skills such as hunting, socialization, and vocalization. So rehabilitator Carmen Smith will bring an older owl into his aviary, who will teach the youngster the basics. (Until the his new teacher arrives, Carmen’s pink "princess mirror" will have to suffice as company. It hangs by his perch, giving him the illusion that there’s another owl with him.)

Find out about Wild Friends at our Sanctuary

Photos by Troy Snow