Baby owls are the best!

A few months ago I had the pleasure of performing Flammulated Owl nest surveys with Hawkwatch International.

Biologists with Hawkwatch International have been creating artificial owl nests for quite a few years now, in order to increase flammulated owl presence in Utah and to decrease predation on fledged chicks. Karri Smith and I, representing Great Salt Lake Audubon, were able to spend a day with the biologists and chicks. Together we performed nest checks in order to inventory young. This involved taking each owlet from the nest, cuddling it, weighing it, and measuring its wing length. Tiny owl puffballs so trustingly slept in our hands while we worked.

me with baby flammy!

Biologist William hard at work, Karri Smith snapping shots, and me cuddling all the owls

Flammy owl chick (aka cotton ball with eyes)

Biologist Toby taking wing measurements

Inside a nest

mom observing
We checked over 20 nests, hiking to each site, sneaking up to the nest and blocking the entrance with a pole-and-baseball-cap device in order to trap the mother and place a radio tracker on her, and carefully inspected each baby owl to make sure all were healthy and growing. Sunshine, pine trees, and wildflowers made up our workstation. It was a beautiful day and the two biologists, Toby and William, kept us fully entertained with their jokes and field stories. They let us take as many photographs as we liked, and took us to a saw-whet owl nest at the end of the day to see the difference in the types of owl. 

Karri and William securing a nest

Chicks holding chicks

Puffball on a log
Baby saw-whet owl
Owl love you forever


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