How to Find a Tiny Owlet in a Big Forest

SCA Member Emily Brouwer Tags Along on an Owlet Tagging Expedition

Before you can tag an owlet, you have to find one. How does one go about locating a tiny, nest-bound baby owl in the midst of an enormous forest?

SCA Photo Media Intern Emily Brouwer found out recently when she got to accompany a team of NPS field biologists on an owlet tagging expedition at Mt. Rainier National Park. Lucky for us, she brought her camera along and came back with some pretty spectacular photos.

Here’s what she had to say about the experience:

“During my internship here at Mount Rainier I’ve been lucky enough to follow different crews around to document their work. One of  my most exciting excursions involved heading into the woods to check spotted owl nesting trees with the Wildlife Crew. Spotted owls are an endangered species here at the park so the Wildlife Crew tags all that they come across so they can keep track of them and see how they are doing.

“Spotted owls are not easy to get to. We had to trek upwards through the dense forest to find the nests. Upon finding an adult owl, we feed it a mouse and if all goes as planned it takes it back to its nest as a meal for its owlets. We follow, and get to tagging! It was very tough going to get there, but the things I witnessed and the photos I got were completely worth it. At the second site we went to, I was lucky enough to witness an actual owlet tagging! It was amazing but also terrifying. The mama owl glared and hooted down at us the entire time!

“It was truly an enlightening experience to go out with the Wildlife Crew. I am lucky to be able to have these types of experiences as an SCA intern and I’m sure I’ll have many more before my internship is done.” ​