Celebrity Owl Near Death

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    What's to be done about Owlet Number Six?

    The manager of wildlife preserve set up a webcam at Starrranch.com to monitor an owl's nest in a 40-foot eucalyptus tree. They've attracted plenty of viewers, but there's rising concern that one of the babies might be unwell.

    Owlet Six was born late and is small, so most of the food is going to his siblings. He's slowly wasting away in the nest.

    It's a difficult scene to watch, but experts say that it would be inappropriate for humans to intervene. Though it's temping to mount a rescue, disrupting the nest could prove disastrous.

    Barn owls face difficult odds, with 90 percent dying before adulthood. Fortunately, they're prodigious reproducers, with each pair producing about six babies each year.

    And owls aren't the only wildlife facing tough times. A giant school of sardines suffocated in Redondo Beach this week, trapped by a breakwater and using up all of the oxygen in the water. Two feet of dead fish line the bottom of the marina.

    And local gulls have fallen prey to a deadly mold that fells about 20 birds every month. One possibly culprit is a nearby recycling plant, although it tends to deal only with bottles and cans to it's hard to say where the mold could be coming from. There's also a soil producer nearby that could be to blame.