UNI facilities staff help rescue Great Horned owlet

UNI facilities staff help rescue Great Horned owlet

Green horned owlet

UNI facilities workers rescuing Green horned owlet

Thanks to a collaborative effort spearheaded by a citizen in the community, wildlife rehabilitators and UNI facilities management, a Great Horned owlet is reunited with its parents after falling from its nest in a tree near campus.

On Monday evening, a gentleman stumbled upon the young owlet on the ground during his evening stroll near UNI’s campus. He promptly contacted the Black Hawk Wildlife Rehabilitation Project in the hopes that they could reunite the owlet with its family.

Upon evaluation, experts with Black Hawk Rehabilitation deemed the owlet healthy and uninjured despite the fall. The team understood a swift return to its nest was imperative for the owlet's survival.

The next day, Terese Evans from Black Hawk Wildlife Rehabilitation reached out to UNI's Facilities Management for assistance. Jonathan Butler, assistant director of campus services, returned her call for help.

Since returning the owlet to its nest would require an ascent 40 feet above ground, Butler enlisted the expertise of UNI arborist Gregg Vanderholt, catching him just before the end of his shift. Without hesitation, Vanderholt agreed to extend his day and employ the aid of a bucket truck to position a wicker basket securely near the owlet's original nest.  

Vanderholt then climbed the tree, guiding the owlet to its new perch high above the ground. With the owlet safe in its new home, the rescue crew was able to leave as the young owlet peered down at its human helpers.

That night, the owlet's parents could be heard calling in the vicinity — a hopeful sign. By sunrise the next morning, the mother owl was observed back at the nest, joyously reunited with her precious owlet.

"This was a very out-of-the-ordinary day for us, but one that brought immense sense of reward knowing we played a part in reuniting a mother and her owlet,” said Butler.

Read this story in the Waterloo Courier