As many of you know, over the past couple of weeks we have had a rare opportunity to watch with excitement the development of two fledgling Great Horned Owls in an area adjacent to Mullen Park. We are very grateful to Andrew Laughlin, assistant professor of Environmental Studies, and other members of the local birding community, for sharing their valuable expertise and guidance as we have been balancing the protection of these owls with the beginning of construction of on-campus residences for our students. The decision to delay construction was made until there was evidence that the fledgling owls are capable of independently relocating themselves.
At this point, we have observed that the fledglings can fly from tree to tree and are capable of relocating if they choose. Because of this, we have decided to commence construction on Wednesday, April 19. You'll see the construction site fencing installed that day, consisting of silt fencing and a chain-link fence, with plastic orange mesh fencing to separate the parking lot from the wooded drainage area. After the fencing is installed, trees and brush in the construction area will be removed, beginning as early as Wednesday afternoon. The owls' original nesting place and current location continue to be outside of the construction area. It is very possible that the owls will choose to stay in the area they currently reside. However, with or without construction, it will be the owls themselves that will be in control of the location of their habitat.
We are grateful for the interest and concern expressed by members of our campus and the Asheville community, and we appreciate the many owl images shared with us, including the above photo of a fledgling from Dr. Bill Tynan. Please continue to check your email for construction project updates or visit facilities.unca.edu/construction for the latest information.