It’s baby season for rescues in the northern hemisphere, and one wildlife center in Tucson, Arizona, is inundated with baby owls. While many of them needed the facility’s help, several others didn’t. Learn when juvenile birds do and do not need assistance by reading on. In your kind-hearted attempts to be of service, you could inadvertently be doing more harm than good.
Wild baby season is in full bloom, and at Tucson Wildlife Center it appears to be raining baby owls! TWC is currently caring for several little owlets from different species, including Great Horned Owls, Barn Owls, and Western Screech Owls. While some did need medical care, others — regardless of good intentions — probably should have been left alone.
The TWC would like to remind everyone that not all baby owls on the ground need rescuing. Spending some time on the ground is actually a normal part of a young owlet’s life, as it may take them days to weeks (depending upon the species) to learn to fly at a certain level of competency. Mom and Dad are usually nearby keeping watch, even if you do not see them. Most young owls should be left where they are found unless they are injured or in immediate danger.
If you find a baby owl or other baby bird that appears to be orphaned, call TWC or your local wildlife center first before removing the little one so that intake specialists can advise you on the next steps. Before you call, it is helpful if you can identify whether the bird is a nestling or a fledgling.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.