Baby owls relocated from Idaho haystacks to Utah nests

Apr 13, 2018, 9:23 PM | Updated: Apr 14, 2018, 12:08 am

NORTHERN UTAH – A lover of wildlife from Wyoming is on a humanitarian mission of sorts, to make sure baby owls have a safe place to grow up. On Friday, Darin Day placed eight baby barn owls in nests, where adult owls will adopt them.

Recently, some farmers near Idaho Falls, Idaho, discovered the baby owls living in haystacks, instead of nests. Day made sure the owlets have a new lease on life.

“Barn owls are not very particular where they nest, like other birds and even other owl species,” Day said.

Day, from Star Valley, Wyoming, has been crazy about owls since he was in junior high school, working on a science fair project. These days, he’s still working with them, trying to keep them safe and thriving.

In a silo near Brigham City on Friday, Day placed two babies in a nesting box, already occupied by other babies.

“This box here has been in place for 25 years,” he said.

He then headed to two more nesting spots near the town of West Warren, in Weber County, where he placed six more babies in their new homes.

After they were rescued from the haystacks in Idaho, the babies were sent to the Teton Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Jackson, Wyoming. After they were examined, they were handed over to Day, who brought them to Utah.

Day volunteers his time doing this, and says he’s concerned that continued urban growth will affect the owl population.

“The west is changing rapidly. The Wasatch Front has changed dramatically since I was a kid,” he said. “Eventually the numbers of these birds, not only the barn owl, but other owl species will be minimal. They’ll still be here, but because of lack of nesting places for them to nest, they won’t be able to sustain themselves over a long period of time.”

Day places the babies in nests that are already occupied with other owl families. The new babies blend in with the others, and the adopting parents usually bond with them quickly — one big, happy family.

Day has built and repaired dozens of nesting boxes and placed them in several states over the years, but there are none currently in Idaho. He hopes to place boxes there in the future.

For these particular owls, they were lucky that farmers spotted them, and made a phone call to wildlife officials.

“Because without that, chances are the birds would’ve either been euthanized, because of a lack of a place to put them, there’s nothing that they can do. So for me, it became kind of a ‘who I am’ and being able to preserve just a little bit in my own way that I could.”

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Baby owls relocated from Idaho haystacks to Utah nests