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A Special Surprise

Eastern screech owls rescued and renested

Kind News magazine, Oct/Nov 2015

  • A baby Eastern screech owl and siblings were safely renested by staffers at South Florida Wildlife Center. Photo by Jesus Aranguren/AP Images for The HSUS

Just imagine the mother Eastern screech owl's surprise. Her babies were missing for nearly five days. Then suddenly, the tiny nestlings are back, but in a completely different nest!

It all began at a park in Florida. Workers there cut down a rotting avocado tree. They didn't know there was a nest with three tiny owls inside. They brought the owls to the South Florida Wildlife Center. The owls were examined, fed and given fluids. Staff members then made plans to return the owls to the park as soon as possible.

Moving day

Because the old nest was destroyed, a new nest was needed. With permission from park officials, center release specialist Shelby Proie attached a nesting box to a mango tree. The tree was near the original nesting site so the owlets' mom could hear them if she was still around.

Before putting them in the nesting box, Proie weighed the owls, gave them fluids and hand-fed them. For several days, Proie returned to check on the birds.

By the third day, the owls had gained weight. That meant that their mom was indeed caring for them. The renesting was a success!

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