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Baby owl back in nest after help from arborist and Salthaven West

Salthaven West clinic manager Natalia Slipak said a woman walking her dog on Thursday saw baby owls on the ground with the mother owl sitting on top of one of the babies. . Salthaven West / Submitted Photo

A baby owl was lifted to safety earlier this week thanks to help from a concerned citizen, a local animal rehabilitation centre, and an arborist.

Salthaven West clinic manager Natalia Slipak said a woman walking her dog on Thursday saw baby owls on the ground with the mother owl sitting on top of one of the babies.

The woman called Salthaven West and then sent them a photo of the owls so they could determine if it was normal for them to be out of their nest.

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“It was definitely a hatchling, just hatched. It should not be on the ground. It should be in the nest and under mom and dad’s care,” Slipak said.

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When Slipak and a Salthaven West volunteer got there they determined one baby owl had died but the other one was still alive and under the protection of its mother from possible predators.

“We don’t know how it happened. Owls take over nests from other birds, so they could have taken this nest and it was an old one, (it) could have been poorly built,” Slipak said.

Slipak added it could have also fallen from rain and movement.

“We don’t know exactly what happened but it was pretty destroyed when we got there,” Slipak told Global News.

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Slipak said she did an intake upon arrival, making sure the owl wasn’t hurt.

“It’s always best to leave the babies with their parents if they’re healthy (and) if they’re strong enough and they have no injuries that require any further treatment at the clinic,” Slipak said.

Once they determined the owl was healthy enough to stay with its parents, next came the need to rebuild a nest.

Sunset Tree Co was called in to help rebuild the nest and lift it back into the tree. Owner and operator Devin Kowalski said he’s usually called out once a month to help with this sort of situation.

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“(I have) years of safety experience and I have the right, proper gear. (I am) tied in twice into the tree and (have) the ability to repel out of the tree quickly if the need arises,” Kowalski said.

Kowalski said the old nest was pulled out of the tree and rebuilt in a box.

The baby owl back in a rebuilt nest. Salthaven West / Submitted Photo

“We sent that nest back up into the tree (and) tied it off several times, and then we slowly (and) carefully raised the baby up, put the baby back in the nest,” Kowalski said.

As an animal lover, Kowalski said he likes to see happy endings like this one.

“It feels good to ensure a small difference can be made. I like to see animals put back where they belong,” Kowalski added.

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Slipak said the mom flew to a nearby tree while the group rebuilt the nest and got it and the baby owl back into the tree. The group waited for the mom to realize the baby was back in the nest and they reunited before leaving.

Slipak said she’s thankful the woman called when she found the baby owls and their mother called Salthaven right away. Slipak also praised the hard work of Kowalski.

“It was a good team effort and it resulted in a super good result,” Slipak said.

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