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Finally, some local good news

To the editor:

Copper Country Audubon installed a peregrine falcon nest box on the Finlandia Jutila center some years ago to provide an alternative spot for the Portage Lake lift bridge falcons to nest when some major repairs were being done on the bridge.

The falcons ignored the box, but after a couple of years a pair of great horned owls started to nest there and have raise two young every year for the past three years. This past winter, the owls raised their usual pair of young which fledged around the end of April.

There is a live video camera on the box that was also installed by Copper Country Audubon with assistance from Finlandia. Unfortunately, the camera got moisture in it last fall and the video was poor this past winter. Both the Jutila nest box camera and the two Portage Lake lift bridge cameras can be viewed at the coppercountryaudubon.org web site.

Hancock resident and photographer Judy Gill had been taking photos and videos of the young owls before and after they fledged this year. On May 13th a friend of Judy’s told her that one of the young owls appeared to be trapped in a below grade window well on the building adjacent to the Jutila Center. When Judy checked she did indeed find one young owl in the window well about six feet below the top of the concrete block enclosure. The space was only about 1 ½ feet wide which was not wide enough for the owl to flap its wings to get out as the young owl was just learning to fly.

Judy called local wildlife rehabilitators Lynn Hietala and Beth Maatta who came to help. The three of them, along with a couple others, lowered a step ladder into the hole and were about to go down to remove the owl when they discovered one of the adult owls was also down there, hidden on the recessed window sill. The adult owl climbed up the ladder unaided and flew off and then the young owl was brought out. After checking it over for injuries it was placed in a tree on the lake side of the building where one of the adults came to feed it shortly afterwards. It appears the young bird may have been down there for up to a week. Thanks to all who helped in the rescue of these great birds.

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