Something great has happened at the Elkhorn Slough Reserve recently: Great Horned Owl chicks have arrived!
Although it is not typical for Great Horned Owls to use nest boxes, they have broken this tradition at the reserve. These owl nest boxes are typically put up for Barn Owls. Coincidentally, both the Great Horned Owls and the Barn Owls nested in the same barn this year. I am personally concerned about how the Barn Owl chicks will fledge with Great Horned Owl parents hanging around.
Although these chicks have only been on this planet for a short amount of time, some of them have already faced challenges. One of the Great Horned Owl chicks fell from the nest box before it was ready to fledge. It wasn’t yet anywhere near ready to fledge from the nest box as it couldn’t even stand up by itself.
Fortunately, someone quickly noticed that there was a suspicious lump on the floor of the big barn. One of the reserve staff quickly headed down there to retrieve the owl from the barn. Luckily, one of the Elkhorn Slough Foundation staff members is a certified animal rescuer so she was able to provide the owl with the necessary attention and care while the SPCA sent its own rescuers. The owl was thankfully not injured in any way so it was returned to nest shortly after. Furthermore, the nest box was modified in order to give the owls more privacy and more support so the chicks wouldn’t fall again. Since then things have been going great for the Great Horned Owls and I’m looking forward to them fledging but will miss seeing them in the barn.
Hopefully they decide to nest here again!