After an exciting week of pips and hoots, four snowy owlets have hatched in their nest in the Oregon Zoo’s Great Northwest area. Parents Rocky and Banff arrived at the zoo earlier this year, and the fluffy new additions came as a happy surprise to their care team.
“We hoped Rocky and Banff would have owlets someday, but we thought it would be another year or two at least,” said Ronda Naseth, a keeper in the zoo’s North America area. “When Rocky laid four eggs earlier this summer we were thrilled.”
Snowy owls usually make their nests on the ground, and Rocky and Banff are no exception. Their cozy nest can be seen near the base of a large tree in their habitat, with plenty of room on all sides.
“Banff is constantly delivering food to Rocky and the owlets,” Naseth said. “He’s a great owl dad.”
The four owlets are keeping warm under their mom’s feathers for now, but care staff expect them to begin venturing out of the nest to explore in another week or two. Visitors to the zoo might be able to catch a glimpse of the four fluffballs in the snowy owl habitat near Black Bear Ridge.
In the wild, snowy owls are threatened by habitat loss due to climate change, and populations have dropped by more than 85% in recent years. During migration, they’re especially vulnerable to threats from human development. The species is classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Source: Oregon Zoo