On March 7, 2020, a private citizen found a hatchling Great Horned owlet at the base of a tree below a damaged nest. They reported that the night before, they had endured high winds, likely resulting in the owlet's nest destruction. After admitting the owlet as a patient, the rehabilitation team asked the private citizen to keep an eye on the nest site, in case the parents were to return. Unfortunately, the parent owls were not seen again and the baby could not be returned to the nest site.
After the veterinary team treated the week-old owlet for dehydration, they moved it into an incubator. At this age, the owlet was not able to thermoregulate yet. While in the incubator, a mirror was placed inside so that the owlet did not feel alone; this is important in their development of establishing what they are. The rehabilitation team always wears camouflage masks while working with owlets this age to prevent human imprinting.
Fortunately, the Center has a foster Great Horned Owl, Papa G’Ho, who has stepped in to fill the parental role in many young owlets' lives. While this owlet was too small to be in an actual enclosure with Papa, the rehabilitation team placed a photo of Papa inside the incubator enclosure with the baby.
As the owlet aged and no longer needed to be housed in an incubator, it was moved into an indoor crate next to Papa.
On April 3, the rehabilitation team reported that the owlet was ready to be acclimated to the outdoor temperatures. The acclimation process takes place in an outdoor enclosure area called Metals; the two owlets will move outside during the day, and back inside during the colder nighttime temperatures.