The Raptors Rescue Society in Duncan has a temporary and fluffy addition to its flock: a five-week-old orphaned baby owl that was rescued in the Comox Valley.

The male hatchling was transferred to the Duncan facility to be raised by a foster owl named Ada.

Staff say Ada will give the small bird a fighting chance at survival before it’s released back into the wild.

“They tried to re-nest him, but they couldn’t find the nest. Obviously that’s our best option is getting them back into their original nest,” said Robyn Radcliffe. “When that fails, which it did in this case, our second best option is trying to find a foster nest or a foster parent.”

According to the rescue centre, Ada will teach the baby owl life skills before it’s released in about a month’s time.

“They learn so much from their parents, we don’t even get to observe it all the time so we’re not even familiar with all the subtle body language, hunting and flying skills that their parents teach them that is so essential for their survival,” said Robyn.

It’s unclear why the baby owl became an orphan, but animal experts at Island Veterinary Hospital in Nanaimo suspect powerful winds could be to blame.

“I think there’s been a number of young birds that have either been blown out of the nest or the nest has been blown out of the tree and the young ones have gone down with it,” said Dr. Ken Langelier.

The animal doctor will try to find the barred owl’s nest so it can be returned to its family. 

He advises that anyone who comes across a young bird, that’s either injured or incapable of flying, to take it to a local animal hospital or a wildlife rehabilitation centre.

With files from CTV Vancouver Island’s Jessica Lepp