Friday, April 24, 2009

Owls move in on Home Depot

Huffington Post
America has enormous warehouse stores such as Home Depot. These outlets are so large that animals often take up residence. This creates makeshift ecosystems. A great horned owl (photo: seeking refuge came to nest; the mice hunted have led the nestlings to take up permanent residence.

HARRISON, Arkansas — A Home Depot in northern Arkansas has someone new looking out for mice at the warehouse store. A great horned owl now lives in the Harrison store's garden center, looking down on surprised customers shopping for flowers and paving stones. Employees say the bird's mother flew inside of the enclosed garden center during a January ice storm and laid eggs atop a pallet of merchandise.

Over time, the mother disappeared and two baby owls poked their heads out of the nest. One fell to its death, but the other survived, its four-foot wing span blocking out the sun as he flies around the garden center.

Since the garden center is open to the sky, the owl will leave, but always comes back, employees said.

"He's kind of our pet now," garden center supervisor John Gallagher told the Harrison Daily Times.

And the owl likely will remain there. Randy Zellers, managing editor of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Arkansas Wildlife magazine, said owls are classified as raptors, which are protected under strict federal regulations. More>>

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