Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Owl Hatchlings Taken to Sapelo Island Sanctuary; the Rehabilitated Birds Were Then Released to Fend for Themselves

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Owl Hatchlings Taken to Sapelo Island Sanctuary; the Rehabilitated Birds Were Then Released to Fend for Themselves

Article excerpt

Byline: GORDON JACKSON

ST. MARYS - Carlene Taylor has mixed feelings when she thinks about two young great horned owls she recently helped rehabilitate at her St. Marys home.

Taylor, who owns Family Matters Counseling with two business partners, volunteers to rehabilitate birds for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

She recently raised one of the owls for about three weeks after it fell from a nest and its parents were unable or unwilling to help the 10-day-old hatchling.

She fed it mice three to five times a day, closely following instructions from Nan Page, director of wildlife rehabilitation at Sanctuary on the Sapelo. Taylor bought the mice frozen from a distributor and thawed them out before feeding them to the bird.

During that time, she and the owl developed a bond, where the hatchling started acting like Taylor was her mother.

Then, came the hard part. The owl was taken to the sanctuary on Sapelo Island, where it was placed in an enclosure with other great horned owls and learned to fend for itself.

"These birds have instincts, but they haven't had time to express it," Page said.

In most instances, Page said the best thing people can do when they find a hatchling is leave it alone.

"They are predators," Page said of owls. "The parents will protect their chicks. The only reason we come across the birds is because of peoples' intervention."

Taylor was asked to keep the bird because there were too many humans and domesticated animals in the area for the owl's parent to help.

"We tried for three or four days to get it back up the tree," Page said.

After two weeks, the bird and another owl hatchling rescued in Camden County were taken to Taylor's home for the next phase of rehabilitation. The bird Taylor helped was a different animal when it was returned.

"It was all beak and talons," she said. "It would have ripped me to shreds. He was not a happy camper."

The birds were put on a man-made wooden platform about 20 feet off the ground in a tree in her yard. …

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