4 snowy owlets hatch at Oregon Zoo after parents make unexpected nest

Staff didn’t expect Rocky and Banff, who arrived at the zoo in April, to lay any eggs for at least a year.

A newly hatched owlet covered in white, downy fluff and sitting in a nest on the ground looks toward the camera while its parent huddles above it.

Baby owl says, “Hoo... hoo’s there?”

Photo via Oregon Zoo

Four newly hatched balls of fluff with large eyes and wings that will one day help them hunt prey in silence are growing up at the Oregon Zoo.

Snowy owl pair Rocky and Banff arrived at the zoo in Portland’s Washington Park in April and staff didn’t expect them to hatch any young for at least a year. So when Rocky laid four eggs in a nest on the ground earlier this summer, keeper Ronda Naseth said everyone was “thrilled.”

The owlets are a boon to their species, which is classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, as climate change leads to habitat loss.

While the owlets are currently spending most of their time in the warmth of Rocky’s feathers, staff expect them to start exploring outside of their nest within the next couple of weeks. Look for them in their habitat near Black Bear Ridge in the Great Northwest area.

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