TIFTON, GA (WALB) –It's owl nesting season in south Georgia, which means some of you may run into one of these nocturnal creatures.
A Tift County Veterinarian says its not uncommon since windy weather sometimes knocks baby owls from their nests.
He's offering some words of advice on what to do and what NOT to do if you ever find yourself in that situation.
Dr. Larry Branch sees a wide variety of animals at his office in Tift County during the next few months he anticipates seeing more owls brought in. This weekend someone brought in the first baby Great Horned Owl of the season.
Dr. Larry Branch welcomes all sorts of animals at Quailwood animal hospital in Tifton. Among the dogs and cats sometimes you'll even find an owl sitting in a cage. In the next few months Dr. Branch expects to see more owls brought into the office. "This is nesting time for owls, a lot of them are found especially after a really windy day they may get blown out of nests," he said.
A 4-week old baby Great Horned Owl was found in the middle of a dirt road in Tift County by a concerned citizen."This one being out in the middle of a dirt road, seemed to be something wrong," said Dr. Branch.
He says Great Horned Owls often use the nests of other birds, sometimes they will even nest on the ground, so its important you take a good look around for nests before you try and handle the bird."If it is a baby, it shouldn't be far from the nest no more than 100 yards or so," he said.
First he recommends finding a veterinarian who is willing to get the bird into the rehabilitation network so it can get healthier and keep growing. But picking up the bird, can be a little intimidating,"They have sharp claws and they are very powerful when they pull down on them, sometimes they will puncture through your skin," he said.
That's why it's important to be as careful as possible."Usually you want a thick blanket or something to cover them with, because you sure don't want these talons clamped on to your hands," he said.
If its a baby owl or its injured, they normally wont try and fly away, so you can place the bird in a cardboard box, or a laundry basket for its trip to the veterinarian. "They end up at the Southeastern Raptor Rehabilitation Center which is part of Auburn college of veterinarian medicine, they get some expert care and rehabilitation there, hopefully to be released into the wild," he said.
But whatever you do, don't try and raise one these creatures on your own it's against the law.
Dr. Branch says transportation is often a problem when it comes to getting these birds to and from these distant rehabilitation centers. He says if anyone wants to volunteer and help drive these birds occasionally, it would be a great help.
Dr. Branch says this baby owl may be going to a foster nest in Tallahassee. If you'd like to volunteer, and help transporting some of these birds back and forth visit our website for more information.
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