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Wide-Eyed Wonder: Rescued Owlets’ First Glimpse of Their Forever Forest



Quick Smiles:

  • Austin Wildlife Rescue fosters orphaned baby screech owls, creating new family units for those who can’t return to their original nests.
  • Recently, a group of these owlets was released into a 15-acre woodland in Texas, their reactions brimming with wonder and awe.
  • Watching these nurtured animals return to the wild is a poignant, rewarding moment for the rescue’s dedicated staff. 🦉🌲💚

In the world of Austin Wildlife Rescue, every little creature has a story of hope. Especially the baby screech owls, who sometimes flutter through its doors, wide-eyed and awaiting a safe return to nature.

For these little winged wonders, the ultimate goal is to reunite them with their original feathery families. However, when this isn’t possible, the rescue has a heartwarming alternative.

“We always combine babies [who are] the same age,” Kathryn Mattison, Austin Wildlife Rescue’s animal care manager, explained to The Dodo. “This helps create a family group they can grow up in.”

The journey of these orphaned owlets starts in a warm incubator, acting as a snug nest. With time, they stretch their wings in a flight enclosure, mastering the art of airborne maneuvers. And when they’ve built enough strength and confidence? The grand day of their release arrives.

Recently, a special moment unfolded as a family of rescue owls was introduced to their lush, 15-acre haven in Elgin, Texas. And oh, what a sight it was! The owls, taking in the vastness of the woodland before them, were pure amazement personified.


Though Eastern screech owls are generally quite expressive, Mattison, a seasoned owl carer, was deeply touched by this group’s reaction.

“They were in awe and shock at their new surroundings,” she reminisced.

Without a hint of hesitation, when the time came, the owls took to the skies with grace.

“[They] flew beautifully into the trees,” said a proud Mattison. “They definitely showed us they were more than ready to be on their own.”

For those like Mattison, who dedicate their lives to nurturing these animals, seeing them return to the wild is an experience unparalleled.

“I think it is always incredible to see the animals we raise go back into the wild, where they belong,” she expressed warmly. “Our goal is to rehabilitate and release, so when you get to see them fly off and it goes perfectly, that’s when you know they will thrive.”