Barn Owl (Case History #1)

Nestling Barn Owls trapped in attic, relocated to nest box in nearby tree

In the spring of 2003, a couple building a house in a rural area in Lauderdale County, Alabama, were sitting out in the yard one evening, just after they finished closing in the attic of the new house. The couple was living in a trailer at the site, and progress on their new home had been slow and sporadic. The couple noticed a Barn Owl fluttering just outside the new attic, apparently attacking the louvers. When they investigated, they discovered a brood of young barn owls that had been accidentally trapped in the attic. The birds were rescued by volunteer Bentley Vaughn from Decatur, and transported to the Alabama Wildlife Center. A few days later, Bentley made a handsome nest box and installed it in a big oak tree about 20 feet from the original opening into the attic, and about 14 feet above the ground. Bentley stayed on the ladder next to the box and began to play the recorded call, thinking that it might help if the sound came from the nest box itself. He waited quite awhile, discouraged because he had not sighted one of the adult birds, then was startled to discover that an owl was perched on the branch right next to his shoulder. Its approach had been so silent he had not even noticed it. The owl flew off, and Bentley took his equipment and moved to a distance. The owl returned and entered the nest box within about 10 minutes. The grateful homeowners have reported annually for the intervening three years that the Barn Owls are still nesting in the nest box.

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