On a ledge along the Salt River in Arizona, two baby barn owls peered out over the cliff face, nestled among their unhatched siblings.

The babies were in a precarious spot. The area where they were perched is highly trafficked by swimmers and cave jumpers.

Not only that, when it came time for the owls to fly, they’d likely fall right off the cliff into the water.

Animal advocates from The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Wild At Heart Raptors soon banded together, vowing to get these birds to safety.

They got in touch with AZ Wildlife Resource founder Valerie Motyka, who was more than happy to help scale the ledge and save the little owlets.

“There were multiple people and organizations worried about these owls,” Motyka told The Dodo. “It was nice to see the community and government organizations join together to help them.”

Motyka knew she didn’t have much time. Along with an aid from the forest service, Motyka took a boat across the river and climbed a rope up to the ledge.

Finally, she saw the babies she’d been seeking and though she was nervous, Motyka began to gently grab the owls.

“It was completely nerve racking,” Motyka said. “I was shaking the entire time but happy I was able to help.”


@palomapalace Hands down one of the best rescue i have been ablr to be a part of. I got to hangnout with law enforcement, hot forrest service men, a new rock climbing rescue friend and the owls are hatching and doing well. #saltrivertubing #saltriver #wildliferescue #wildlifeconservation #saltriverhorses #usfws #forrestservice ♬ original sound – PalomaPalace

Motyka moved the six eggs first, placing them in a towel-lined bucket she’d brought. Then she carefully picked up the two chicks and put them in the bucket as well.

Finally safe on the ground, the chicks traveled to the Wild At Heart Raptors facility, where experts gave them food and water and placed them with a foster owl family.

Today, the chicks are still with their foster family, learning the ropes and enjoying all that Wild At Heart has to offer. In the fall, once they’re old enough, the chicks will be released back into the wild.

For these chicks, the dedication and commitment of animal lovers banding together has made all the difference.

Original Article