FOSTER PARENTING PROGRAM
Letting Nature Take Care of Its Own
One, as the young birds are fed by the adults, they imprint onto their own species instead of onto humans. This prevents the bird from becoming familiar with humans which helps them stay away from people when released back into the wild.
Two, the young birds are taught to hunt by the adults. This is even more critical with Great Horned Owls. While hawks will naturally and quickly adapt to hunting, these owls require multiple weeks of practice before they can even come close to perfecting their skills.
In 1990 Sam and Bob Fox established the first raptor foster parenting program in Arizona, with a non-releasable Barn Owl named Chia. This program has successfully expanded over time and now includes additional foster Barn Owls as well as other species of owls, hawks, and falcons that care for 150 to 200 young raptors each year. The success of this program has even caught on with other rehabbers in Arizona.