Meet the 'Owl Whisperer'

    10:17 AM, Apr 18, 2012   |    comments
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    CHICAGO, Ill. (CNN/WLS) -- Great horned owls in the Chicago area are getting some help from a woman known as the "Owl Whisperer." She makes sure the birds have all the comforts of home while in the wild.

    This is one of those stories with a secret location. We can't say where they are but they can say they're with Wannetta Elliott and she's leading them to a very special spot far off the beaten path. It's easy for her, she's an avid hiker but for a golf cart guy this is no easy trek. Wannetta is taking us to her owl tree. A tree with a bushel basket secured high up in the branches. And in that basket look closely now the ear tufts of a baby great horned owl born just six weeks ago. Wannetta says, "We're seeing the top of the owl's head. Right now I can't see his eyes. I see his ears and just the very top of his head."

    Yes, for the last eighteen years every November Wannetta Wlliott climbs high up into these trees with a bushel basket filled with nesting materials and secures the basket. After waiting for more than half an hour the owlet starts to emerge and this is what we've been waiting for a good look at a beautiful little bird.

    Mom isn't far away she's found in a nearby tree watching us watch her baby. Dad was not seen today but does help with feedings. Wannetta has done it again. She has gotten one more owlet off to a healthy start it's over thirty now in eighteen years.

    Mom and dad owl feed their offspring everyday mice, snakes, anything they can get their beaks on. Surprisingly this freeload does not go on forever. It's just a matter of months. Wannetta says, "This little guy is going to have to find his own territory because mom and dad have this territory. They'll kick him out of here probably in October."

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