Great Horned Owl (Case History #2)

Nestling Great Horned Owl in substitute nest basket reunited with parents by recorded call

In 2002, a nestling Great Horned Owl was found in a public park, near Decatur, Alabama. The bird was approximately four weeks old.  A preliminary search by local volunteers of adjacent trees failed to reveal the parents or the nest structure. Because of the age of the bird, it seemed quite certain that the parents would be in the area where the nestling was first observed, and a nest basket was installed in the nearest tree.   Although the adult birds had not been sighted beforehand, when the recorded food-begging calls were played, the adult birds appeared within five minutes. Even though the game caller was positioned some distance from the tree containing the nest basket, the adult owls immediately flew to the substitute nest containing their lost nestling. A very similar case involving another nestling Great Horned Owl in Cullman, Alabama, had a similar outcome.

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