“They were in awe and shock …”
When baby screech owls come through the doors of Austin Wildlife Rescue, animal advocates always attempt to re-nest the babies with their original families. If they can’t be re-nested, these owlets don’t have to worry — they’ll soon be safe with new loved ones.
“We always combine babies [who are] the same age,” Kathryn Mattison, Austin Wildlife Rescue’s animal care manager, told The Dodo. “This helps create a family group they can grow up in.”
The tiny, orphaned owlets are initially kept in an incubator. Later, when they’re big enough, the owls move to a flight enclosure, where they can build their strength and practice flying. Once they’re ready, the owls are released back into the wild.
Recently, one such family of rescue owls was released onto a property in Elgin, Texas. When their carrier door opened, the owls finally saw the 15 acres of pure wooded area that would soon be their new home. And they couldn’t believe their eyes.
Eastern screech owls are known for their expressiveness. But even Mattison, who regularly works with owls, couldn’t help but note these owls’ unique excitement.
“They were in awe and shock at their new surroundings,” Mattison said.
With the doors of their carrier open wide, the owls knew exactly what to do.
“[They] flew beautifully into the trees,” Mattison said. “They definitely showed us they were more than ready to be on their own.”
For Mattison, watching rescue animals return to their natural habitat is always the best part of her job.
“I think it is always incredible to see the animals we raise go back into the wild, where they belong,” Mattison said. “Our goal is to rehabilitate and release, so when you get to see them fly off and it goes perfectly, that’s when you know they will thrive.”