Thursday, April 28, 2011

Queens Owl in the News

Fallen owl at Alley Pond Park not welcomed with open wings upon return to nest

BY Lisa L. Colangelo
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Sunday, April 24th 2011, 4:00 AM

Birdwatchers have only confirmed a handful of great horned owl nesting pairs around the city.


A baby owl in Queens got her first lesson in sibling rivalry the hard way.

The tiny fluff ball, who had toppled from a treetop nest at Alley Pond Park earlier last week, was returned to her home Friday by rescuers - but then promptly pushed out.
"She was in there about five seconds when the sibling knocked her out," said wildlife rehabilitator Bobby Horvath, who caught the owl in midair while standing on a ladder. "I replaced her [again], and they seemed to tolerate each other. Sometimes with two babies in a nest, it gets crowded in there."

Alert birdwatchers found the wet, shivering 3-week-old great horned owl under a tree Wednesday and contacted parks officials.

It's a scene that animal experts expect will play out across the city this spring as baby birds and other wild critters venture out for the first time.

But Sarah Aucoin, director of the Urban Park Rangers, urged good Samaritans to leave family reunions to the experts.

"The best thing to do is watch from a distance and call 311 for the rangers," she said. "The parents might be there just waiting for the public to leave." In this case, city parks workers contacted Horvath, who brought the owl to a veterinarian for an exam. Luckily, it had no injuries. Firefighters from Ladder 160 helped Horvath reach the 30-foot-high nest, while the mother owl kept a watchful eye from a nearby tree.

"This is a rarity," said Horvath. "Usually the nests are higher up or not easily accessible."

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe praised the collaboration of citizens and city workers that led to the owl's rescue. "It reminds us of how humans and animals share and benefit from the parks of New York City," he said.

While screech owls and barn owls are commonly seen across the city, birdwatchers have only confirmed a handful of great horned owl nesting pairs. Horvath said he is raising several baby owls at his Long Island home that couldn't be placed back into their nests, but said his goal is to return the babies whenever possible. "Mother bird can do a much better job," he said.

Wildlife rehabilitator Bobby Horvath with FDNY members (Bryan Pace for News).

lcolangelo@nydailynews.com

No comments:

Exploring urban nature, birds, birdwatching, birding, hummingbirds, butterflies, dragonflies, bees, hawks, raptors, wildflowers, trees, mushrooms, environment, binoculars, spotting scope