University of Calgary fenced off tree to stop students from taking selfies with baby owls

A trio of Great horned owlets has taken up residence on campus.

Great horned owl family nested in a high traffic area

One of the three owlets who have taken up residence at the U of C campus. (AIWC)

A trio of great horned owlets born on the University of Calgary campus this winter became quite the distraction for students.

"There was definitely a lot of cellphone photography happening," said U of C staffer and  Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation (AIWC) board member, Jennifer Kaiser.

"At one point there was over 20 people just standing around and looking at them, which obviously draws more of a crowd as people walk by and daytime is when they're supposed to be resting."

Kaiser is thankful the university fenced off the tree where the baby birds were nesting.

"The owls were learning to fly and use their wings so they would have been on the ground a bit more, so it was important to give them some space. But they were on such a busy pathway that there was real risk of people interfering with them and stressing them out."

A few weeks ago, one of the male owlets fell from up the nest.

He was transported to the AIWC wildlife hospital, but only had to stay the night.

A brave volunteer climbed the tree to return him to his family. 

One of the three owlets spent a night with the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation after he fell out of his nest on campus. (AIWC)

The three owlets, who are now two months old, have all fledged and moved on to a quieter location on campus.

Kaiser said their mother has been feeding her young ones magpies and pigeons.

"Campus has a great population of birds like that, so they're well fed."

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