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Great Horned Owls nesting on the roof of C wing

In early April 1996, a Great Horned Owl was observed perching on the roof of C wing. There were occasional sightings, until in early May, the owl was seen on a daily basis. Turns out she's raising a chick on the roof. 
An adult owl, probably the mother, perched half-asleep on the roof of C wing  Momma Owl
The baby owl as a downy youngster  Baby Owl
The young owl, aged about six weeks, and his foster father, Loki  Baby Owl and foster father
In October, the 
time came 
for release.
Owl about to be released.
Owl being released
Relase owl flying off into the sunset

News Updates:

Saturday, June 1: The baby owl was found on the ground between C and D wings. It was unable to fly yet. It is currently at the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center (WERC) in Morgan Hill. They are putting it with a surrogate mother. If it works out with the surrogate, it will be returned to ARC and released. If not, they will probably send it to Monterey where there are larger facilities. 

It is unknown for certain why the baby fledged prematurely, but there are a couple of possibilities: 

  • It was getting hassled by crows earlier in the week. They may have returned and driven it off the edge of the roof.
  • Saturday was beginning of our first really hot spell. The nest area was exposed to the sun in the early morning, and the heat may have driven the chick from the nest.
Tuesday, June 4: WERC reports that the baby is becoming habituated to his surrogate parent (father, not mother as reported above). They hope to be able to release him in a couple of months. 

Friday, June 21: Dave Hildebrand and I (Chuck Tribolet) went down to WERC in Morgan Hill to visit the baby. He now looks a lot like an adult owl, though still a bit smaller. His foster father, Loki, has become quite defensive of him, which is good. He can fly around in the small cage he is in. The next step is to place him in a large flight cage where he can gain flying strength prior to release. WERC does not have a flight cage (though they are raising funds to build one), and is attempting to locate a facility that can handle this next stage. The picture on the right was taken at this time, 

Wednesday, July 17: WERC called this afternoon. They have named the baby Almaden, and it looks like he's a she. It's difficult to determine the gender of an owl other than by size, which is imprecise, but based on the fact that she's now bigger than her foster father Loki, the are assuming Almaden is a she. They did raise the funds required to build the first section of the their flight cage, and she will soon be stretching her wings there. 

Wednesday, October 16: WERC called this morning. The owl is adult-size, and has its adult plumage. It has been successful in the flight cage, and the release is scheduled for Monday, October 21, in the evening, somewhere near the building. They don't want too many people clustered around the release, but it will be possible to watch the release from inside the building. We should have a more precise time and location in a day or two. Watch this space. 

Monday, October 21: The release will take place across from the end of C-wing. It will be at dusk. I know that's vague, but we need to play it by ear. Sunset is about 6:25, so I would guess that the release will be between 6:15 and 6:45. If you would like to be notified when the owl arrives, send e-mail to triblet@almaden.ibm.com

Tuesday, October 22: The release took place successfully. The owl flew across the valley and landed on the ground on the far side of Harry Road. This is normal behavior for a released raptor. Good luck, owl. 


Photos by Chuck Tribolet, triblet@almaden.ibm.com. The top two photographs were taken with a Nikon 600 mm lens, a Nikon 2x telextender, and a Nikon N90s body on Kodak Ektachrome 400X (EPL) slide film. They were scanned with a Nikon CoolScan. Digital image processing was done under OS/2 using ColorWorks V2 (tm) by SPG

The third photograph was taken with a Nikon N8000s with a Kodak DCS 200 digital back and Nikon 60 mm macro lens. The digital image was downloaded using Photoshop for Windows, and subsequent digital image processing was done under OS/2 using ColorWorks V2 (tm) by SPG

The last three photographs were taken with a Nikon N90s and Nikon 80-200 mm lens.  They were scanned with a Nikon CoolScan II.  Digital image processing was done using Photoshop for WIndows. 

Last Modified: Thursday, 21-Jul-2011 15:25:21 PDT


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