Family of owls chooses to nest at strip mall

Posted on: 9:23 pm, May 2, 2012, by , updated on: 10:47pm, May 2, 2012

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — A family of owls has moved into an unlikely neighborhood south of metro Denver.

It’s surrounded by acres of open space between Roxborough and Chatfield parks.

Yet, the mother owl and her two owlets decided to go a little more urban. And now some neighbors are a little worried about their safety.

Photographer Thomas Cooper is used to taking pictures of wildlife–but never at a strip mall.

“With all the trees, and the parks around here between Chatfield Park and Roxborough Park–to find they nested right here in a sign, in a very busy area like this. It’s really baffling,” says Cooper.

The three grey-horned owls have taken up residence behind a Roxborough dental sign 25-feet high in the 8300 block of Rampart Range Rd.

Cooper has photographed the birds’ growth, their meals of mice, and soon hopes to catch them take flight.

But that has people around here worried–that when the owls learn to fly—they’ll end up on the concrete sidewalk or parking lot with a crowd of people around.

Not only is it a hard landing–but some people imagine a real-life version of angry birds.

“It would be horrible if a kid tried playing with the baby owl and mama owl comes in to protect her, because I can’t see that working out for anybody,” chuckles business owner, Rob Perella.

Perella owns the pizzeria underneath the birds and enjoys the joy the feathered family brings to the area.

“They really are beautiful,” says resident Birdie Barnard. ‘We’re enjoying them while they are here.”

Because they won`t be here for long.

The babies will try out their wings in about another month.

“It’s kind of a tense, oh my God, how is this going to play out?” says Perella.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife–which oversees the federal protection of these birds–says if anyone comes across the baby on the ground, don’t pick it up because its protective mother will go after you.

They ask you call them at: 303-291-7227.