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Wildlife center preps owls for release

 Orphaned owls congregate in late June. Photo courtesy of Melissa Randazzo

 

The Northwest Raptor & Wildlife Center, the Sequim wildlife rescue and rehabilitation nonprofit, is preparing eight young barn owls for release back to the wild over the coming weeks.

The eight orphaned barn owls were brought to the center from three different nest sites during the months of April and May and were raised by center executive director Jaye Moore and two surrogate mother barn owls who are permanent residents of the center.

"These little owls are all flying beautifully and we're busy building up their flight strength in a long flight enclosure," Moore said.

She has raised dozens of orphaned barn owl chicks over her 30 years as a wildlife rehabilitator. "Our two surrogate mother owls taught them very well," Moore said. "We've already soft-released one of the older owls from the enclosure who was more than ready to get started with its life in the wild, so eight to go."

Matthew Randazzo, public relations director for the center, said there will not be a public release for the owls.

"We are going to be performing a soft release from the center, whereby we gradually open their enclosures to allow the barn owls to explore the wild and return when they need to, just as they would from their parents' nest," he said. "These owls will be wonderful community members who will help keep local rodent populations under control."

Videos of center staffers exercising the owlets' flight muscles can be found at www.youtube.com/watch?v= 9yxZvql9jUU and www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXab3Bzz8U0.

Daily photo, video and news updates on the barn owls and the other residents of the Northwest Raptor & Wildlife Center can be found at www.facebook.com/northwestraptorcenter.

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