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Dealing with injured or orphaned owls:

Take note of exactly where you found the bird, so that it may be returned to the wild in its own territory.

Care of orphaned owls or other bird of prey:

Unfortunately, most "orphaned" owls and birds of prey are mistakenly deemed orphaned - they're actually just in the process of testing their wings.

Many young birds disperse from their nests long before they can fly - this prevents overcrowding in the nest as the chicks grow.

This is nature's way of helping to minimize any threat to the entire clutch from predators.

Many young birds lose their footing during these first explorations and fall to the ground. A grounded chick may look lost and vulnerable, but the chances are its parents know exactly where it is and will continue to feed it.

Also, many young birds are quite capable of climbing back into their tree using beaks and talons.

It is normal to see a baby owl on the ground, like this young Great Horned Owl.

Photo by Deanna Beutler (OwlChick.jpg)

Before doing anything with chick you need to check the following things:

Is the chick obviously injured?
If yes, use the protocol for handling an injured adult. Is the chick in immediate danger from vehicles, people or predators?
If yes, put the chick in the branches of the nearest tree and leave the area. The parents will NOT abandon it because you have touched it.

Has the chick been in the same place for several days near humans with no sign of parents?
Ask a rehabilitator to come and evaluate the chick for signs of starvation.

If the answer to the above questions is 'No', then just walk away.

Only ever remove the bird from the area if you are positive it has been abandoned or if it is clearly injured.

Seek expert advice immediately and do not attempt to treat or feed the bird yourself.

It is all too easy to imprint a youngster on humans, thus rendering it incapable of being returned to the wild.

Modified from material on The Owl Pages--Page last updated 2015-08-01

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