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Wildlife Center of Virginia admits first hatchling raptors of 2022

A thorough exam performed by veterinarians did not reveal any major physical injuries, and...
A thorough exam performed by veterinarians did not reveal any major physical injuries, and radiographs showed the owlets had stomachs full of food, signifying the parents were still caring for and feeding these young birds.(Wildlife Center of Virginia)
Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 12:42 PM EST
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WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV) - On March 3, the Wildlife Center of Virginia admitted two young Great Horned Owlets, the first hatchling raptors seen as patients during 2022, according to a center press release.

A private citizen found the hatchling owls alone on the ground near a Greer and Associates construction site in Albemarle County March 2, after the birds had likely fallen from their nest.

A thorough exam performed by veterinarians did not reveal any major physical injuries, and radiographs showed the owlets had stomachs full of food, signifying the parents were still caring for and feeding these young birds.

Hatchlings have the best chance of survival when cared for by their wild parents. Center staff prioritized re-nesting these owlets in their original nest.

On March 5, center staff transported the owlets back to their site of rescue and attempted to re-nest the hatchlings with help from the Greer and Associates construction crew and their equipment.

While the initial attempt was successful, within 36 hours one of the owlets had reportedly fallen to the ground again. Center staff heard and saw the adult owl nearby, as well as signs of the owlet feeding. 

Center staff placed the owlet inside a temporary artificial nest attached to the same tree March 6, and contacted Greer and Associates’ site manager March 8 to check on the owlet’s status.

The artificial nest had remained in place, neither owlet was seen on the ground, and an adult Great Horned Owl was possibly seen in the area that same morning, indicating that the second re-nesting attempt was likely a success.

One of several native species of owls found in Virginia, Great Horned Owls typically mate and lay eggs during late January and early February, with incubation periods lasting about 30 days. These hatchling owls, the 177th and 178th admissions to the Center during 2022, are likely less than one month in age.

Wildlife Center of Virginia admits first hatchling raptors of 2022
Wildlife Center of Virginia admits first hatchling raptors of 2022(Wildlife Center of Virginia)

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