Young star of popular Nevada ‘Owl Cam’ OK after 2-story jump

Season one of Nevada’s most popular owl-based reality show has taken a dramatic turn. As worried fans watched live via webcam Monday, a great horned owl chick jumped two stories from its window-sill nest at the Desert Research Institute in Reno.

But here’s a welcome spoiler from the Nevada Department of Wildlife: The owlet landed safely on the ground and appears to be doing fine so far.

“It basically fledged,” Aaron Keller, the department’s outdoor education coordinator, said Tuesday.

NDOW and DRI staff members are keeping their distance in hopes the wayward chick will be fed and protected by its parents until it is ready to fly.

“Luckily for this owlet, it basically has two mothers — two females and a male looking out for it,” Keller said.

The department and the DRI, the research arm for the Nevada System of Higher Education, established the “DRI Owl Cam” livestream on YouTube so people could observe the nest without disturbing the birds.

Biologists knew they had an unusual show on their hands even before the camera went live March 15.

Keller said it’s rare for two female great horned owls to nest so close together, let alone take turns sitting on each other’s eggs.

‘Co-parenting’ females

“It’s very unusual. We’re not sure whether it’s been documented before,” he said. “They’re co-parenting, which is kind of cool.”

The two females laid five eggs between them, but only two of them hatched, the first on March 23 and the second a day or two later.

Wildlife officials named the first chick Washoe, after its county of origin, and the second Zephyr, because it hatched during a windstorm.

The larger, browner female is Sienna. The smaller, grayer female is Jina, and the male who tends to them is Arie.

Keller said the webcam has developed quite a following, with viewers across the country and around the world.

He said he tuned into the livestream on YouTube at 10 p.m. one night and discovered 275 people watching it.

“I clicked on it just now. There’s 300 people watching,” Keller said.

‘I can’t look!’

Even NDOW employees have gotten swept up in the drama.

“We were basically watching when the owlet got up on the ledge,” Keller said. “A woman in our office said, ‘I can’t look. I can’t look!’” just before the two-story dive.

The department posted an update later Monday, noting that the chick sat up after its fall and took a nap with its head down, which looked alarming but is perfectly normal.

Since then the owlet has been spotted stretching its legs and wings and watching a nearby lizard.

Keller said officials will discuss possible intervention if it looks like the parents have abandoned the chick. Usually the preferred option is to let nature take its course.

As NDOW notes below the YouTube feed, “No matter how good the wildlife rehab centers are, the owlets’ natural parents are always the best choice to raise them.”

But viewers should be warned: In the natural world, happy endings are never guaranteed.

Like any owlet that leaves the nest before it’s ready, Nevada’s youngest reality star could “find itself at the bottom of the food chain,” Keller said.

Contact Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350. Follow @RefriedBrean on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like