SEQUIM, Wash. - Eight orphaned barn owls are ready to fly from the Raptor and Wildlife Center at Sequim.
The owlets were brought from three different nests in April and May and raised with the help of two surrogate mother owls that live at the center.
An older, ninth owl, has already been released. The remaining orphans will take off in coming weeks in what the center calls a "soft release." The birds are allowed to come and go until they acclimate to life in the wild.
"These little owls are all flying beautifully, and we're busy building up their flight strength in a long flight enclosure," said Center executive director Jaye Moore, who has raised dozens of orphaned barn owl chicks over her thirty years as a wildlife rehabber. "Our two surrogate mother owls taught them very well. We've already soft-released one of the older owls from the enclosure who was more than ready to get started with its life in the wild, so eight to go."