In the summer of 2014 my daughter Cali Mortenson Ellis spent some time at the cabin, and gradually became aware of nesting Great Horned Owls in a spruce tree near the bunk house. On April 20 she found two owlets on the ground, below the tree and they were stranded. In her words: ” The owlets needed help. Their feathers were too downy for them to fly, and they were not in good shape.” She asked me what she do. I suggested she leave them on the ground and let nature take it’s course. She screamed at me! So I suggested she call the Raptor Recovery Center at the University of Minnesota.
The next day a volunteer named Jim arrived from St. Paul with a replacement nest that he had built. Jim put up the new nest near the old one. The owlets were placed in the new nest and left alone. Amazingly the parents returned at dusk a day later and resumed feeding their owlets. For the next week the owlets would start screeching around dusk when the parents returned to feed them. One owlet fell out of the nest on April 26 and we returned him to the nest. A few days later we left the cabin and the owlets. When we returned several weeks later the nest was empty.
We hope they made it, but we do not know. Sometimes we see great horned owls in the woods around the cabin. We wonder: Is this adult one of last year’s owlets that Cali and Jim saved?