Gas Crew Rescues Fallen Baby Owl

Gas crew workers who found a baby owl fallen near their work site rescued the bird and worked with PG&E’s avian experts to return it to its nest.

The crew noticed the bird on Tuesday (Feb. 2) as it began work at a PG&E gas compressor station on McDonald Island in San Joaquin County.

PG&E biologist Lindsey Koos arrived and identified the bird as a 3-week-old great horned owlet. An adult owl was noted roosting near a nest made of sticks in the rafters of the compression station.

Since it was late in the day, she converted a cardboard box into an overnight shelter for the owl until the bird could be returned to its nest the next day.

Koos and the crew returned the next morning and saw a rabbit’s foot and tail in the box, indicating its parents had delivered food to the young owl overnight. Next, with the assistance of a PG&E lift truck, Koos returned the owlet to its stick nest.

PG&E biologist Andi Henke explained that January and February are nesting periods for the great horned owls, one of the largest owls in North America. She said a 3-week-old owlet hasn’t yet learned to fly and requires an adult owl to help regulate its body temperature.

The rescue is just one of the many examples of how PG&E is committed to protecting birds and other wildlife throughout its service area.

As part of PG&E’s Avian Protection Plan, the company has retrofitted more than 60,000 utility poles to make them “bird safe.” PG&E also educates its employees to comply with all state and federal bird protection laws and promotes the need for migratory bird and habitat conservation.

“Everybody on the crew is really happy that the owl is OK,” said lead inspector Travis Taylor. “These are very majestic birds. They are just amazing animals.”

Taylor said the crew had one more task — to name the bird, something his crews do for any animal that requires stopping a job.

They named it Hoo-lio.

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