Westside Campus Housing Nocturnal Flying Friends

Story and Photo

By Mark Graven

Staff Reporter
The CNM Westside Campus owls have moved, but not too far, since they apparently like the neighborhood, according to CNM security officers.  
The owls had been making their home on the Michael J. Glennon Building  (MJG building), and a prominent yellow sign at the front of the building still announces  their nesting activity.

About two months ago, security officers noticed the mama owl sitting atop an egg on a second- story window sill of the MJG Building.  They blocked off the window, so people inside the building would not frighten the owls, according to CNM Security Officer Jamison Meyer.

Meyer said shortly after that officers found that the egg had rolled off the window sill, and was broken on the ground below.  
Now the owls hang out in the pine trees to the north of Westside II, Meyer said.  Meyer says he has only seen two owls, and he suspects they are mates.  They are both a little larger than a football in size, and have the feathers that look like horns on their heads.

Meyer said he regularly spots the owls on his patrols.  “I look at them; they look at me,”  said Meyer.  “No one says anything.”
Meyer said that sometimes the owls roost in the same tree:  sometimes they roost in separate trees.  Meyers said, with a laugh, that he suspects they seek separate trees after they have had an argument.

The famous owls of CNM Westside campus made local headlines four years ago, when their baby fell from his nest in a tree by the MJG Building.

Hawks Aloft, a non-profit group that takes care of all kinds of birds, arrived at campus to check the owlet and give it treatment, in addition to providing a new nest.
Gail Garber, executive director of Hawks Aloft, reached for comment by phone, said the owls would probably not try to build a new nest until next spring, but would stay in the area as long as the food supply is good.  Great Horned Owls range across North America, except where it is cold and treeless, she said. Owls, said Garber, are carnivores.  They will eat any kind of meat, including “your cat,” she said.

Meyer said he has seen bones from rabbits and squirrels around campus, so he suspects that the owls have enjoyed good hunting.
They become active after the sun goes down, swooping from trees and light poles as they stalk their prey,  Meyer said. 
Meyer said it relaxes him to spend time observing the owls.  “Especially in these times when so many bad things are happening . . . It’s good to get back to nature.”

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