Owls return to Geneva Courthouse

March 25, 2008 4:53:23 PM PDT
Two Great Horned Owls are back at home perched above the Geneva Courthouse in Kane County. They have returned to the same tree for four years. They were first spotted in 2005 when they fledged two owlets. Three others were hatched in April 2006, but one died. Two more were fledged in April 2007.

There are reports that two owlets have been spotted this year, but the Kane County Audubon Society said only one has been visible lately.

For information on the pair of owls and their species, visit KaneCountyAudubon.org.

The owls and their offspring occupy two trees located by the courthouse on Third Street. The owls have now become a part of the town's history.

"They said they had two this year but everyone has only seen one. But they come back every year," said owl onlooker John Johnson.

"Last year, the tree was hit by lightning, and we weren't sure they would be able to use it. But the owls managed to use the nest even after being hit with lightning," said Jerry Hope, Kane County Autubon Society

"It's amazing that they come back to this busy location every year," said Kim Girard, owl onlooker.

The Kane County Autubon Society has set up a telescope on the sidewalk for visitors to get a closer look at the creatures.

Seeing the owls is more than just an educational experience. It's a happening and something that can be shared with the entire family. And it also has become an attraction for Geneva.

"It brings a lot of people in contact with something outdoors that everybody is intrigued with owls," said Bob Andrini, Kane County Audubon Society.

The owls range from 18 to 25 inches. They weigh up to 63 ounces, chiefly nocturnal with yellow irises and immobile eyes, a white throat and breast streaked side to side. Children especially enjoy searching for the owls with their own binoculars.

"This has been about our third to fourth year coming with them. And so we started dragging binoculars around for coming to see the birds," said Elizabeth Schuster, parent.

"I like to bring them every year to see. It's just a neat thing for them to experience," said Diane Kispert

"It's pretty cool," said child Brandon Krispert.

The Kane County Autubon Society says that this is an important time for the owls because when the prey base is low and the weather varies, only the strongest will survive. This also means that incubation begins as soon as the first egg is laid. Also this species tends to return to or remain near a particular site or area.

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