In June of 2012 some people were cutting trees in north central Wisconsin. Without knowing it, they cut down a dead/dying tree that held a nest cavity with young Barred Owls in it. They found out about the nest the hard way, because the chainsaw beheaded the young owls.
The people left and returned the next day, surprised to find something moving in the nest cavity. One owlet was still alive! Apparently he was either the runt of the brood or scrunched down at the bottom of the nest because he had only been scalped…his bare skull was exposed on the entire top of his head.
The owlet was taken to the Raptor Education Group Inc. (REGI) in Antigo, WI. With much care and handling the skin grew over the owlet’s bare skull. The feathers, however, did not. With all the handling necessary to heal the wound, the owlet wound up imprinting on humans. Because of this he would not be able to live in the wild.
He was raised by one of the interns at REGI so he would be comfortable around humans as an educational ambassador. He worked with the REGI bird team until August of 2014 when he moved to Houston to work at the International Owl Center.
Timber’s story is a powerful reminder of why it is so important to leave dead trees standing whenever possible to provide habitat for owls and other wildlife. His original name was “Remi,” but his name was changed in hopes that people will be more likely to remember his story, since “TIM-BER!” is what is yelled when a tree is cut down.