Renesting owlet with help from The Davey Tree Expert Company

January 26, 2024

A nestling great horned owlet was rescued after falling from its nest and found on the ground. Foxfire Community residents knew what to do and called our wildlife hospital. While the owlet appeared uninjured, von Arx Wildlife Hospital staff monitored its behavior and health for forty-eight hours before clearing the owl for renesting. Rich Wiland, District Manager for The Davey Tree Expert Company, generously donated a bucket truck and staff needed to renest the owlet. 

Von Arx Wildlife Hospital Volunteers, Lauren Malinowski and John Tekdogan, met Rich and his team at the owl nest site, surveyed the trees and decided a large cypress tree provided the best location to attach the artificial nest basket. The owlet was placed in the nest once the basket was secured to the tree. Although no adult owls were present during the renesting, later that afternoon the adult owls were seen in trees nearby. Bit by bit the adult owls flew closer to the owlet and just as it was getting dark, one adult flew in and perched on a branch just above the owlet. It was terrific to have so many people come together to reunite the owl family. Thank you to everyone involved and The Davey Tree Expert Company for being so helpful with this reunion. It truly takes a village of people to rescue wildlife.

Continue to rely on businesses within the community who support our efforts to protect native wildlife. The Davey Tree Expert Company helped with the first renesting of the season of a great horned owl from Foxfire Country Club.

The following morning, a resident reported seeing an adult owl bring a rat to the nest for the owlet to eat. Of course, it is awesome to know the renesting was successful, but there was underlying dread that the rat contained rodenticide poison. 

Second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) are compounds that inhibit normal blood clotting resulting in excessive bleeding and death. Rodenticide poisoning is frequently seen in raptors admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital. The poison bait kills rodents, but can also cause mortality in non-target species of mammals and birds either through primary exposure (eat the poison bait), or secondary exposure (eat a poisoned animal). 

Residents at Foxfire Country Club watch as staff from The Davey Tree Expert Company renest a nestling great horned owl.
The owl was found on the ground after its nest was damaged during inclement weather.

Used to eliminate rodents from homes and businesses, black box rodent bait stations are everywhere. The indiscriminant use of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides means the environment is flooded with poisons that are killing the very species (owls, hawks, eagles, foxes, bobcats, opossums) that are nature’s pest control.

Rodent control is a difficult issue with no quick and easy solutions. Preventative measures, such as storing pet food or birdseed in sealed containers and exclusion from homes, garages and other structures are long-term solutions to rodent issues that won’t compromise environmental health. Some communities are enacting stronger restrictions regarding rodenticides to protect wildlife as the dangers of SGARs and the ramifications for native wildlife are revealed. Stay informed and support efforts that protect native wildlife.

A great horned owlet settles in to its nest basket after The Davey Tree Expert Company donated their time and equipment to renest the owlet.

Recent Releases

A raccoon, a belted kingfisher, a big brown bat, an eastern screech owl, a royal tern, a marsh rabbit, three laughing gulls, an eastern cottontail, five gopher tortoises, a white ibis, two Florida box turtles, a double crested cormorant and a Virginia opossum were released this past week.

Opportunities to Help 

There are many ways to support the Conservancy, become a member, volunteer and/or donate. The von Arx Wildlife Hospital receives no local, state or federal funding for the work done caring for injured, sick and orphaned native wildlife – your donation is vital and helps us continue providing professional care to animals in need. To learn more about the mission of the Conservancy visit our website.

Joanna Fitzgerald is the Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, 1495 Smith Preserve Way, Naples, Florida 34102. Call 239-262-2273 or see