Rehabilitator: Watch for owlets blown from nests during storm

A great horned owl nesting near Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet. [Photo courtesy Hatteras Island Wildlife Rehabilitation]

Great horned owls are sitting on osprey nests around the Outer Banks this time of year — and a local wildlife rehabilitator asks folks to watch out for owlets blown to the ground by strong winds.

A wind advisory is in effect for the Outer Banks beginning at 7 p.m. tonight, with gusts up to 50 mph possible.

“Quite often the owlets will blow out of the nest, or the nest will blow apart and they end up on the ground,” Lou Browning of Hatteras Island Wildlife Rehabilitation wrote in a Facebook post. “Most times they can be re-nested. If not, we can place them with foster parents.”

Browning is also asking folks to be respectful of wildlife. A great horned owl who is back nesting at a marker near Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet lost an owlet last year “when they got upset by a people on a boat too close watching them,” Browning said.

“The owlet jumped out of the nest into the water. By the time I got there, it had already drowned,” he wrote.

During and after this week’s nor’easter, keep an eye out for owlets, who look like giant cotton balls, and call Hatteras Island Wildlife at 252-475-4217 if you spot any.

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Kari Pugh is digital director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and Classic Rock 92.3. Reach her at [email protected]