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A hoot at home: Avian specialist enjoys seeing great horned owl nest

"We feel thrilled and honored to see the nurturing happening right above our aviaries," Hankey said.

ESCONDIDO, Calif — Hillary Hankey is an avian specialist and couldn't believe her fortune as a pair of great horned owls set up home on her property.

"I literally saw the pair mating... I saw everything up until now," she said. 

Hankey is co-owner of Avian Behavior International in Escondido.

"We feel thrilled and honored to see the nurturing happening right above our aviaries," Hankey said.

The great horned owls were able to hatch a pair of owlets, which was extremely exciting.  

"So, we were taking pictures, we were sharing it on social media. then of course they hatched and started to grow up," she said. 

Then about three weeks ago, the owlets started taking short flights near the nest where there were power lines that looked to have avian protection, but apparently not enough.

"One Monday morning, we found one had been electrocuted by the SDG&E pole," Hankey said. 

She immediately called SDG&E and they sent out a rep to look at the pole.

"He was mostly concerned for the health and safety of the nesting bird 50 inches away," she said. 

And work began within days.

"The crew came, they worked overtime. they were here on a Friday evening, and they literally worked with four trucks and cranes putting more avian protection on the pole," Hankey said. 

Hankey was sad for the loss of one owlet, but is happy know the other is safe.

"I'm so happy to be able to see this bird fledge and do all the owl things it is designed to do, it's really thrilling," she said. 

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