Woman Finds Fluffy Baby Behind Cactus — Then Realizes What's Really Going On

He hadn’t been abandoned after all.

On a recent animal rescue mission, Valerie Motyka reached behind a group of cacti and finally found who she’d been looking for. A fluffy baby owl gazed at her from his hiding spot, alone and surely confused.

woman saving owl
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Motyka, the founder of AZ Wildlife Resource, had been called to investigate the situation after homeowners noticed the baby wandering their community. It was shocking for them to see an owl on his own, on the ground, in the daytime. But, holding the baby in her hands, Motyka explained to the homeowners that this wasn’t necessarily out of the ordinary.

woman holding owl
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“It is completely normal for an adolescent owl to be on the ground,” Motyka told The Dodo.

The surrounding palm trees hadn’t provided adequate nesting or branching space, so this little guy had likely fallen out of his tree and was looking for a place to hide. Baby owls typically learn to fly from the ground up, and it’s common to see them clumsily padding around or flying into the sides of buildings. During this awkward period, it’s important to give these babies space and, as in this case, call an experienced wildlife expert if you think something is wrong.

Motyka knew the owl’s parents were likely nearby. Gazing up, she spotted them — each perched in an individual tree, watching their baby, making sure he was OK.

owl in tree
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Motyka told homeowners that the best course of action was actually no action at all.

“The best thing we could do is leave them alone,” Motyka said. “We can observe for injuries from a distance, but as long as they look healthy, we should respect their space.”

The animal expert was thrilled to find that community residents seemed excited about helping the owls and keeping an eye on them.

A dedicated bird lover, Motyka always strives to teach people about the ecological benefits of wild owls — birds who naturally deal with pest populations, decreasing the need for poisonous pest control.

“I wish more people realized how beneficial owls are,” Motyka said.

With the whole community behind him, this little owl can take all the time he needs to learn to fly. Soon, he’ll be up in the trees, reunited with his family.

To help other animals like this owl, make a donation to AZ Wildlife Resource.