Great Horned Owlet #17-0885

Admission Date: 
May 11, 2017
Release Date: 
October 11, 2017
Location of Rescue: 
Northampton County
Cause of Admission / Condition: 
Separated from parents
Patient Status: 
Patient Archive

On May 11, a Great Horned Owlet was transported to the Wildlife Center from a rehabillitator in Northampton County. The owlet is a healthy baby separated from its parents and is being introduced to Papa G'Ho, the Center's surrogate Great Horned Owl, who will teach the baby the necessary skills and behaviors to successfully grow up and be released. Papa is also caring for another owlet - #17-0363.

On May 12, owlet #17-0885 was moved to the outdoor flight pen where Papa G'Ho and owlet #17-0363 are currently housed; owlet #17-0885 remained in a crate for several days, allowing the owls to get comfortable with each other. The new owlet was then let out of the crate to be with Papa and owlet #17-0363 during the day and is put back into a crate at night with a meal to ensure the young bird gets enough to eat. Assistant Director of Vet Services Dr. Kelli reported seeing the owl family huddled together on top of a nest box in the enclosure on May 16. Soon, owlet #17-0885 will be out with the foster family full-time.

Your donation helps to provide for the specialized care for this owlet, as well as the 2,500 animals that are admitted to the Center annually.


October 12, 2017

Great Horned Owlets #17-1135 and 17-0885 both had their pre-release blood work done earlier this week; both received clearance for release from the veterinary team!

On Wednesday, October 11, the owls were picked up by a volunteer transporter and were taken back to the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Prior to their departure, wildlife rehabilitator Brie banded the two owlets, and also sharpened their talons and beaks to help them be effective hunters. After five months of rehabilitation, the staff is happy to send these birds back to the wild!

Great Horned Owl #17-1135, all grown up:


Great Horned Owl #17-0885:



October 7, 2017

All three young Great Horned Owls have been flying very well – each is strong in flight, and also is silent, which is an important requirement for owl releases. On October 3, Papa G’Ho officially finished his surrogate duties for the year, and was moved to a C-pen enclosure; each of the young owls was moved to separate flight pens for mouse school practice and additional exercise. Rehabilitation intern Shannon said that the live-prey testing is off to a great start; the owls have passed three nights so far, and should finish the rest of their testing this weekend.

After the owls pass mouse school, they’ll each have blood drawn for a pre-release health check. If all goes well, the owls should be able to be released within the next two weeks.

September 26, 2017

The Great Horned Owl family – Papa G’Ho and his three young foster owlets – has been doing well these past few weeks. On September 9, the family was moved to flight pen A2, so that the young owls could have more room as they practice flying.

Wildlife rehabilitator Brie reports that all three birds are flying well – they are silent in flight, and are gaining more stamina. They are currently each flying about five to 10 passes during each exercise session, and will increase the number of passes in the coming weeks. The owlets have been practicing “mouse school” once a week during the summer so that they can watch Papa and his hunting skills, and so they have a chance to practice their own skills. As the owls get closer to release, each will need to pass an official five-day course of mouse school, to prove that each can successfully catch its own food.


June 22, 2017

Great Horned Owlets #17-0363, #17-0885, and #17-1135 are doing well; they are flying and eating consistently on their own.

As of June 21, Papa G'Ho and his three owlets are housed together in one of the outdoor flight pens. When an appropriate, larger enclosure becomes available (likely one of the "A-pens"), the rehabilitation staff will move the four birds; the larger space will give the growing family more room and space for the young birds to practice flying.

The family will remain together until the owlets are eventually separated for individual live-prey testing in preparation for a fall release.