BARNSTABLE, Mass. (WPRI) — The New England Wildlife Centers Cape Cod Branch is reminding everyone to think twice before sawing into tree trunks after crews fatally wounded an owl and came close to injuring her four babies.
The tree was being removed from the property after it had been snapped in half, according to the wildlife center. Instead of abandoning their home, the family of Easter Screech Owls continued to nest inside the downed tree.
Several days later, the property owner called in a tree removal company to clean up the debris. The wildlife center said it wasn’t until crews began chain sawing the logs into more manageable pieces that they realized the owls were inside.
The mother, according to the wildlife center, was hit with the saw blade and suffered life-threatening injuries.
“Our vet team made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize [her],” the wildlife center said.
The owl’s four chicks, however, were unscathed.
The wildlife center is now treating them and working to find them foster nests, “where they can be with wild owl parents and learn all of the necessary skills and behaviors they will need to take on a life in the wild.”
“We are grateful that the chicks are getting a second chance,” the wildlife center said.
The wildlife center is using the tragedy to remind everyone to “stop before you chop.”
“Check any knot holes, hollows and cavities in trees for wildlife before cutting them up,” the wildlife center said. “These spaces make excellent wildlife habitat and many animals, which are often referred to as cavity nesters, use them as a place to have their young.”
Those who find wild animals nesting in downed trees are urged to reach out to the wildlife center for assistance.