Teamwork returns fallen Bend baby owl to nest

Tall Hooker Creek ladder, climbing pro finish the effort

BEND, Ore. - Sometimes wildlife need a helping hand -- and that was the tale in recent days of a fallen baby great horned owl that on Saturday, with quite a bit of help, was back in its nest.

On Wednesday, the roughly 20-day-old baby owl was found on the ground, "obviously too young to be out of his nest," said Jeannette Bonomo of High Desert Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation.

She declined to publicly identify the location on Bend's Westside, "for the protection of the birds."

After receiving the call, she said, High Desert "went to pick him up and scan the area for a nest."

Here's the rest of the tale of the baby owl they nicknamed "Muppet," as told by Bonomo:

"His parents were there, but we couldn't locate a nest. We relied on the property owners to 'spy' on the owls, and see if they can locate where the nest might be. Well, good news came on Friday, as they had finally found the nest!"

"After a nice Saturday breakfast of two whole mice, our little owlet friend was ready to return to his real home -- a nest in a tall Ponderosa on private property, only a half-mile from Century Drive.

"Don Hamon of Hooker Creek Construction Equipment met us at the nest site with a 40-foot extendable ladder. Due to branches in the Ponderosa, we were unable to extend it fully, but we managed to get it to about 30 feet.

"A friend of ours, Jesse, is a climbing pro (teaches rock climbing), so he volunteered to go up, as once he was at the top of the ladder, there was still another 15 feet or so of tree to climb before getting to the owl's nest.

"Using ropes that were looped over branches, we hoisted up the baby owl in a pillowcase, until he reached Jesse. Then, Jesse gently untied the pillowcase and removed the baby and placed him in his old nest. He was the only baby, and it's a good thing - the nest wouldn't fit any more growing owlets!"

Bonomo added, "This case is a great one and it shows how much we rely on effective teamwork. The people who originally found the baby spent time searching, and finally discovered the nest.

"Many, many thanks goes to Don Hamon and Hooker Creek," Bonomo said. "They have helped HDWRR before and once again, have not only saved the day, but a life! Thanks to Jesse for going up to the heights that only the birds seem to like."

As our veterinarian says, "It takes a village to raise an owl!"

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