STARKVILLE — The effort to save a baby barn owl whose home was destroyed by high winds last weekend appears to be a success.
The 5-week-old owl lived in an oak tree in front of the Greensboro Center in Starkville until last weekend, when high winds brought the tree to the ground. The owl was found Sunday morning inside the Greensboro Center by an 11-year-old girl named Mallory Keasler, who was leaving a church service in the building.
Wildlife officials believe the owl crawled up the steps of the building and made its way inside through an open door. It was not injured when the oak tree fell.
The owl was given the name “Charlie” by Keasler and, on Wednesday, was returned to Greensboro Street, where he was placed inside a nesting box in an oak tree about 40 feet from his old home. Because Charlie is only 5 weeks old, the hope was for the owl”s parents to come to the nesting box and provide care.
Margaret Copeland of the Oktibbeha County Audobon Society has been keeping tabs on the box since Charlie was returned to Greensboro Street and, on Thursday night, saw an adult owl fly into the new home. Then today at about 5:15 a.m. Copeland saw both adult owls return to the box.
One of the owls was dropping off what appeared to be a mouse, she said, and one was hissing at people walking by on the street.
Another young barn owl, which was found injured inside a portion of the downed tree that did not fall, is still receiving treatment for a broken leg at the Mississippi Wildlife Rehabilitation group in Water Valley. Wildlife officials hope to treat the injured owl and return it to Greensboro Street within the next three weeks.
A third barn owl found in the tree was euthanized earlier this week when its injuries were determined to be too extensive.
“It looks like everyone”s efforts in saving at least one of the baby owls will be a success,” Starkville School District public information officer Nicole Thomas said in an e-mail.
The Greensboro Center houses the Starkville School District”s administrative offices.