BEND, Ore. -

Bend’s Drake Park recently became home to a pair of great horned owls who are actively nesting with their owlet -- and that's prompted the Bend Park and Rec District and federal wildlife officials to take some special protective measures.

In order to help protect the baby owlet and parents, the park district and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service officials have collaborated to fence off and close the area around the nest tree and nearby trees that the parents are using.

The fence was installed Monday and is expected  to remain through the month of May. During this time, the public will not have access to the area and are asked to respect the owls’ space.

According to Jerry Cordova, USFW Fish & Wildlife biologist, if an owlet is disturbed and falls out of the nest, the chances of its survival are severely reduced -- and in fact, just last week, another baby great horned owl that had fallen out of its nest on Bend's Westside was returned by wildlife rehabilitation experts and community members who pitched in to help.

USFW officials will be periodically monitoring the nest to ensure the owlet and owls are present, park district officials said. Once the owlet fledges (is able to fly), the fencing will be removed.

Additional information on Drake Park is available at www.bendparksandrec.org. For more information on Great Horned Owls and other wildlife in Oregon, visit http://www.dfw.state.or.us/species/birds/owls.asp.