The first babies to be admitted every year are also the last to be released.
Our foster great-horned owl, "Alberta," raised seven injured and orphaned owlets in 2012. Great-horneds are already starting to court in the wild this time of year in the midwest, and if you're lucky enough to have owls in your neighborhood, you will hear their resonant 'hoo, hoo-hoo-hoo-, hoo-hoo!'
The eggs are incubated by the female owl for 28-30 days before the owlets hatch. During their incubation and while the downy babies need the parent's warmth, the male owl will hunt for the entire family.
If a baby falls from the nest and is injured (broken wings and broken legs are common), or something happens and the parents cannot provide for the young, orphans may be found by caring people and brought to Fellow Mortals for care.
Alberta came to Fellow Mortals in 1994, when she was already 14 years old. She had been raised illegally and was imprinted on humans, so could not return to the wild. Still--she has been able to have numerous families in captivity and is an important part of our foster-parent program, making sure that owl babies that come to Fellow Mortals learn how to be owls from another owl and grow up wild!
The pictures show two of the 7 babies Alberta was mother to in 2012. All healed from their fractures, trauma and emaciation and were released as big beautiful wild birds in late fall.
Thank you for remembering the wild ones in this season of hope. Our best wishes to you for a safe and peaceful holiday with family and friends,
Yvonne--for the wild ones
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