Great Horned Owls are very thrifty.
They search trees for vacant nests built by crows, squirrels or birds of prey and use them to raise their young. It saves them the energy and resources of creating a new nest. This method does have its drawbacks. Frequently these nests are old and easily fall from the trees in storms and heavy winds. This is just what happened to poor little Olie, ony a few weeks old when a spring storm rocked his nest loose and he tumbled, nest and all, close to 30 feet to the ground below.
After being alerted by an observant hiker, a Wildlife Rescuer was dispatched and quickly scooped Olie up and brought him back to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital.
As he placed Olie in the carrier for the trip, he noticed Olie's mom circling in concern for her youngster.
Back at the hospital, rehabilitators were relieved to find no broken bones or serious injuries on Olie. They fed him, gave him fluids and monitored him for the next two days to make sure he was healthy.
Olie Returns Home
The best chance Olie had for survival was his mother's care, so after he got the all clear from our rehabilitators, Olie was back on his way to his nest.
Trying to place the same nest into the tree would be fruitless, but luckily, Owlets like Olie are kept safe when wildlife experts install nest boxes into the tree and attach them firmly. The original nest can then be placed inside the box and the owlet is kept safe.
Even after two days, Olie's mom quickly appeared and circled high above wildlife staff as they installed the nest and placed Olie gently inside. After a return trip two days later to check on him, wildlife staff were happy to report seeing evidence of food provided to Olie from his mom.