2011 Barn Owl Comment Archive

Comments from the 2011 nesting season.

21,135 thoughts on “2011 Barn Owl Comment Archive

  1. Pete has put these cameras up for us to enjoy watching the owls as they go from eggs to young adults and also does his job as manager of Starr Ranch. If the cameras weren’t here NO ONE would know anything that goes on out there. It takes a lot of his time to do this and I hope he continues to do it. If the harassment continues I wouldn’t blame him if he takes them down. He is doing his job following the governments guidelines.

  2. I’m fine with leaving nature alone. BUT, when you intervene by attaching a ring around a wild bird’s ankle and then the bird suffers an injury that MAY have been caused by the ring, then you are responsible. Why not just leave the birds alone. Stop attaching rings to their ankles. My pet cockatiel has an ankle ring. DO NOT attach rings to wild birds ankles unless you will intervene if injury may have been caused by ring YOU attached.

  3. Pete – I respect you so much regarding wildlife and with the birds. I would not wish to jeopardize your safety in any way to reach out to the injured owl. This clutch has had its heartaches with the deaths of #6,& 7, this is part of the harshness of nature we are invited to witness. Thank you and Starr Ranch for all you do and share.

  4. Emma, thanks for pasting Pete’s earlier post. I must admit I find some aspects of his post confusing. He states it is illegal to remove a wildbird from the wild, no matter what condition it’s in. Yet, he goes on to mention that he’s had more than a few rehabbed raptors released or fostered out to nests at Starr Ranch! Also, isn’t there a resident Great Horned (I think?) Owl (injured & can’t be released back into the wild) that Pete showed to those at the banding of the Barn Owls? From what I understand, it is illegal to remove wild birds from a nest before they have fledged. However, it doesn’t appear to be illegal for a Licensed Rehabilitator to rescue/treat/release back to the wild (if possible) raptors that are either injured, sick or orphaned.

    I can see both sides of the argument here, but I do agree with a previous poster who mentioned that since Pete is providing the cams & taking donations to help with the cost, he does have a higher responsibility towards the wild life he is allowing us to view via the cams. I’m not about to argue whether it’s right or wrong to attempt a rescue of the injured Barn Owl (though I have no doubt that there are some experts that will say it IS possible, and SHOULD be done). I simply feel that there are some contradictions in the information that’s been put out. I am really curious to know what the Audubon Society’s stance is on this subject? From what I gather, Pete (and Sandy & crew) does a remarkable job of managing/mantaining Starr Ranch, but even Pete has admitted that he doesn’t know everything and is also learning from watching the owls via the cams! Not trying to put anyone down here, but I just feel there is some confusing and conflicting information, and would like to understand the situation more fully.

    • Since Pete stated that more than a few rehabbed raptors have been released or fostered out to nests at Starr Ranch, it’s clear that “rescues” do occur at times. Perhaps you could help us understand better, Pete, by explaining under what circumstances a Licensed Rehabilitator would deem it necessary to rescue a wild bird? Or is it purely on a case-by-case basis? Since I wasn’t at the barn owl banding, I would love to know how the Great Horned Owl came to be rescued? Where is he kept at Starr Ranch & is he fed rodents?

  5. In case one is interested, the following sites were located by researching wildlife intervention and ethics. I found interesting stuff enabling me to reflect upon and explore more deeply my own ideas and beliefs. If anyone has other sources, please post. Thank you.

  6. Feather asked if the link to Pete’s comments could be reposted later this morning. I don’t know how to do the permalink thing, so I’ve just pasted the comments here for those checking in this morning or later today. I’ll have to learn to do the other, I know. So, here is Pete’s post from last night.

    Starr Ranch ~ May 9, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Permalink | Reply
    I’ve been watching the commnts and from what I read over the last couple of days it appears it might help to try to clear the air a bit about the fledgling with the bum talon/foot/leg:

    Why did this happen: Could be lots of reasons. Don’t know. But doesn’t matter why. Just points out yet another thing that can happen and why it’s difficult for these guys to ultimately survive. They face a host of survival challenges trying to make it from egg to adult. This is just one of them and a completely natural occurrence, albeit probably not a common one.

    Is this injury serious: Maybe, maybe not. From what I see we’re looking at (forgive the human analogy) a kid with a twisted ankle and not one who needs intensive care.

    Will it make it?: Maybe, maybe not. It took off tonight so that’s a good sign. But if it doesn’t make it because of this injury or the multitude of other reasons most of these fledglings don’t ultimately make it, that wouldn’t be unusual. It would be normal.

    What will I do if the injury is life threatening?: Nothing. Among other reasons, because nothing can be done. At this point in their development these fledglings are virtually impossible to capture. They likely still have little experience hunting on their own so the chances of capturing them by using one of the various techniques that rely on them coming into prey are slim to none. And if I climbed up there during the day all of them would most certainly bolt before I got halfway up. There are also a bunch of other things that could happen trying to retrieve this bird that could result in a worse overall outcome for all of them. Also keep in mind that it’s illegal for me to take a wild bird out of the wild, no matter what condition it’s in.

    Take home messages:
    -Don’t assume the worse.
    -Let’s see how this plays out keeping in mind that it’s a unique opportunity to watch what occurs in the wild and it would happen whether we were watching or not.
    -No need to post wildlife rehab contacts to solicit supplemental intervention. We all know each other here and work closely together. I’ve had more than a few rehabed raptors released or fostered out to nests at Starr Ranch and a few colleagues and myself are often the only ones called to rescue raptors that have been orphaned because someone cut down a nest tree, etc.
    -As always on this site, all well meaning and well thought out questions or comments are welcomed. That’s what I envisioned (and so far it’s been great!). All I ask is that when you comment you first know as much as possible about any particular situation and that you’ve done your homework on every other aspect of the life history of these BNOWs. I’ll also submit the latter takes a lot of years in the field working w/ these birds to get a true sense of their life and challenges (I’ve never met a raptor biologist worth their salt who just got their learnin’ from a book or a class).
    -Trust me. I love these birds. They’re incredible. I also have some unbelievably talented colleagues. Among us we have way over 200 years of combined experience working with raptors closely and in great detail on every level to feel confident about doing the best things we possibly can for them.

    Last, I take nothing away from the emotion and compassion that comes from seeing an injured animal and wanting to help. But please know that intervention is not always simple, possible, or appropriate. And I think I need to reiterate a very important tenet of this cam and nest: Just because we get to watch a wild scenario unfold doesn’t give me or anyone else the right to intervene and/or manipulate what happens. And I’ve said all along I won’t intervene. What is happening would happen whether we were watching or not, as it does in literally billions of other nesting scenarios around the world. To me, that’s called “life”. Heartbreaking, incredible, tragic, unbelievable, you name it. It’s all part of it, whether we like it or not.

    If anything above offended or disturbed anyone, I apologize. My intent was to share what I’ve learned and know. Pete

    • Good morning Emma! Forget that Permalinky-thingy… the way I would post Pete’s comments throughout the day is copy/paste the URL from the page Pete’s comments are on, and just paste the URL directly in your post…they will land on that page (be sure to mention to scroll down a bit to see his post.) This would be the easiest way to go.

  7. Injured one home resting but he is putting more weight on that leg. Another just visited but took off again straight away. Flitting about outide at the moment.


    Spoke too soon. A second one in the nest again now.

  8. Just starting to be enough light now to capture them this morning on the limb

    One rasper on the limb and another fledgling checking out the cavity for leftovers in the pantry??? The mom usually would scratch around more and not be rasping if it was her in there. And now the cheeky chick cleans its beak on the IR cam!

  9. One in the nest for the second time in a few minutes. Checked round for a snack but didn’t find anything. He’s now rasping fit to burst. Not the injured one though.

  10. Just think of the five owlets soaring around showing off their creamy feathers to anyone below when they launch at night. I’ve been watching my owlets launch the last few nights, and it’s wonderful watching them soar around, stretching their wings and even chasing each other. Two this way, then another in a different direction taking a break in the tree tops. Tonight I saw four swooping around together – one might have been a parent since it was twittering.

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