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Baby owls taken from nest, thrown in bucket

March 30, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A traffic stop leads to a startling discovery of a bucket full of baby barn owls.

They may be safe now, but that wasn't the case two days ago, when the baby barn owls were snatched from their nest and thrown into a bucket.

"Some of the disgusting stuff people do to animals is enough to make you cry," said Animal Rescuer Lenore Will. She said the two guys who did this were apparently going to try to sell them for as much money as they could get.

"I know they've called at least one pet shop who I've already talked to," said Will. "They wanted to sell them. They're wildlife, they're protected."

Will said one of the babies here was less than a day old, and if they weren't returned to their nest quickly, they might not have survived.

"You know, I tried to time it," said Will. "They were only out of that area for three hours, and that's awesome."

Will's cared for a number of owls over the years. One of them is a great horned owl that's going to be released soon.

As for the seven baby owls she helped save on Monday, it's tough to say how long they'll survive given the traumatic events. Will said she is disgusted by what happened, and doesn't know why someone would try to bother an owl.

"They hunt at night," said Will. "They don't bother your songbirds, your kids, your dogs, your-mother-in-law. They're just out there at night, minding their business."

To many, the owl is a mythical creature. And here in California it's a protected species. Fish and Game said they know who did this, and they're pursuing misdemeanor charges for the suspects.