Baby owls rescued after work crew accidentally saws into their tree

·2 min read

The Cape Wildlife Center is reminding the public to “stop before you chop” after a tree worker accidentally cut into a tree that was home to a family of owls.

The parliament of Eastern Screech Owls were living in a tree that recently snapped in half and fell to the ground last week. Because there were multiple chicks in the hollowed out tree cavity, the mother owl continued to use the tree as a nest.

A few days later, a work crew was called in to clean up the fallen tree. The tree workers began chain sawing the the logs into smaller pieces, not knowing the owl family was inside.

Unfortunately, one of the worker’s made a cut right where the family was nesting and accidentally hit the mother owl with the chain saw. The crew didn’t realize their mistake until they heard the babies calling a short time later.

The crew quickly grabbed the log, owls and all, and brought it into the Cape Wildlife Hospital to see what condition the family was in. Staff at the hospital performed an x-ray on the log to see how many owls were inside the nest. X-ray images found there were four chicks and one mother owl still inside the log.

Hospital staff began to extract the family and realized the mother owl had suffered life threatening injuries due to the cut from the chainsaw. A difficult decision was made to humanely euthanize her.

Remarkably, the four chicks were uninjured.

The Cape Wildlife Center is providing short-term care for the babies and are working to find them suitable foster nests where they can be raised with wild owl parents. This will help them learn all of the necessary skills and behaviors to survive in the wild.

Spring time is a popular time for tree work in New England. The wildlife center is urging people to double check any knot-holes, hollows, and cavities in trees before cutting them down. Spaces such as these are often used by wild animals as places to have their young.

“Despite the circumstances, we are grateful that the chicks are getting a second chance,” the Cape Wildlife Center said in a statement.

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