Ask the Bird Lady: is it ok for the baby owl to be on the ground?

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Photo by Nikki Chau

Nikki Chau asks:

Today while walking around Boeing Creek Park we saw a baby owl on the ground and a momma owl on a tree nearby, watching (presumably) her baby very diligently.

The dog owners who walked by told us that word has spread that all dogs are advised to be on leash while walking through this area. It's near the Shoreview Park entrance and Forest Loop Trail.

I'm not sure what the story is behind why the baby owl is on the forest floor. Someone said it may have fallen and can't fly yet.

The watchful mother sits high in the tree
Photo by Nikki Chau
Chris, the Bird Lady, says:

Baby owls, called owlets, in general, will leave the nest before they can fly. This is called branching, because they are usually out on nearby branches.

Sometimes they end up on the ground. They then climb trees by grasping the bark with their bill and talons, flapping their wings, and walking their way up the trunk.

Hopefully this owlet will soon master the skills required to get back up the tree.

Once the owl gets back up in the tree, it will start flying short little hops from one branch to the next, ever expanding the distance until it can really fly and land.

Owl parents are very watchful, and this baby will be fed regularly.

I personally want to thank the dog community for watching out for this youngster.


Anonymous,  May 8, 2017 at 4:19 PM  

"...word has spread that all dogs are advised to be on leash while walking through this area."

Do people not know that this is NOT an off leash dog park and that dogs should be on a leash in these areas at ALL TIMES anyway?

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