NSO Intern at British Columbia Conservation Foundation; Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program in Langley, BC
I am continuing work at the Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program (NSOBP), a project under the British Columbia Conservation Foundation. The NSOBP is dedicated to preventing the extirpation of northern spotted owls from Canada by captive breeding and release into protected areas. During the breeding season, I learned the meticulous process of hand raising the newly hatched chicks. This entails 24/7 monitoring of chick health and behavior, prepping food, feeding, heath exams, processing fecals, and lots of cleaning. I assisted with the return of chicks back to the nest and watched video recordings to observe their welfare and acceptable parental behaviours from the adult owls. Currently, I am helping with the potential release of viable owls into the wild. I have been trained to test the owls readiness for release by feeding live prey, and aiding in health checks and weighing. As well, I am contributing to the construction/maintenance of owl aviaries, for example, weed whacking to create space and sealing wooden roost boxes. Co-op allowed me to reflect on my experiences and I feel it has been very interesting to go through the processes of the breeding season, meet the people involved, and see the effort it takes to increase the chances of survival for these owls.