HORNED OWLS OF LA CANADA ROAD PUTS NEW FACES ON THE BLOCK, A NEIGHBORHOOD BLESSED EVENT, BUT KEEP AN EYE ON FIDO
When lightning sliced from the sky last summer and exploded the top five feet of the neighborhood saguaro, residents felt it tragic, but few could imagine it set the stage for what happened next! Few noticed in mid-March when a horned owl started hanging out, eyes started noticing when it was obvious the momma owl had babies. Soon neighborhood walkers, runners, schoolkids, sidewalk superintendents, everyone started coming by the north end of La Canada Road and checking out the nest. Real drama unfolded last weekend! When eight year old Alexander burst into the kitchen yelling, one of the owls had fallen from the nest. The mother of two, Marian, called Fish and Game and alerted them to the horror unfolding on Pima County’s northwest side.
The baby owl had scooted beneath a bush and more than fifty people gathered to help, or do what they could…since a riot was probably not far off Oro Valley Police responded and was able to keep peace in the neighborhood and to keep traffic moving. When “Karen the Owl Lady” showed up to help out, the state and federal licensed wildlife re-habilitator, first secured the baby and then folks in the crowd provided a ladder tall enough to deal with the almost 20′ high saguaro.
Mother Marian, son Alexander and four year old Victoria dug up a large cardboard box and duct tape enough that the owl lady could set up a bigger platform and shade for the trio. As Karen climbed the ladder, mother owl flew away, the remaining baby stayed in the nest, while the owl lady fashioned a new larger cardboard nest and duct taped it around the top of the blown off saguaro. Karen reported the nest had a dead rabbit so the babies had food enough for a couple days. With the loose baby re-nested, the whole neighborhood now sat on pins and needles awaiting to see, if mom would come home. Nothing happened the first day but by the second day mom was seen watching from near-by housetops and soon she came home with dinner.
Meanwhile the neighborhood has it’s focus back and everyone is coming by and checking out these massive horned owl babies. Many dog walkers bring fido by and those owls eyes get huge as they see this moveable feast shaping up at the base of their nest. Game and Fish posted the area trying to get the owls some space and hopefully the owls will move along before they are big enough to take Fido with them.
In the evening, Marian reports she hears the mom owl hooting with her mate, who visits, sitting on houses nearby and hoots about the days news. The owl lady says it will be a couple weeks yet before the babies will be able to fly and soon after they will be off hunting in Honeybee Canyon, as their ancestors have for centuries.