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Saturday night after messing with the Super Moon, I checked on the owlet. He was looking good and a parent was nearby and hooted at me. The next morning the owlet was nowhere to be found, nor were either of the parents. There were no signs of predation--no feathers, blood, tracks on the ground, nor signs of a struggle in the dust on the ground. The property owner and I searched the grounds for the owlet to see if it had fallen from the nest tree and was hiding in the vegetation.
If the owlet was still alive and on the ground the parents would still be attending it. The owlet was too young to fly and this was confirmed by a raptor biologist friend of mine. The fledgling owl might have been killed by other GHOs. This sometimes happens. It also might have been killed by a bobcat that was seen nearby a few days ago. It also might have fallen to the ground and was snatched by a coyote. We will never know.
As a wildlife biologist, I rarely get emotionally attached to wildlife and I'm not too upset about this bird. The landowner realizes that we did our best and it was up to the parents to finish the job, but she feels bad about losing the little owl. Nature is nature.
Edited on May 07, 2012 at 05:28 PM · View previous versions