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Hotel Gives a Hoot About Summer Guests

Six baby barn owls have taken up residence on a balcony of the airport Marriott Hotel; because they are a protected species, they get an extended stay.

On these warm summer nights, with windows open and the wind at bay, you can often hear them---the equally spaced, mildly haunting hoots (and sometimes hissing screeches) of owls.

Of the eight species of owls in the Bay Area, barn owls are the most common and they take up residence in just about any place that looks comfortable--tree hollows, attics, barns--or, in the case of the popular family of birds of prey near SFO, hotel balconies.

As reported in the USA Today Saturday, a family of six baby barn owls has checked itself in to a nest the 11th Concierge Floor balcony, much to the delight of staff, guests and media.

Fortunately for the owls, they are a protected native birds of prey, so they get to stay at the Marriott for as long as they like. The hotel turned to the wildlife experts at the , who explained that because of their protected status, the birds were not to be disturbed.

"Even when we're sold out at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront, the owl family is not relocated to another property," hotel general manager Clif Clark says in a press release.

The article explains that the six babies are somewhat on a summer vacation of their own--the mother and father owls are residing elsewhere, but visit the nest of their offspring daily and the babies are maintaining a healthy size.

The adorable family of owls, noted for their white breast and underwings and white, round, almost animated faces, have become quite a popular attraction at the hotel, however, hotel staff need not worry about being summoned to the balcony to deliver room service however--the owls prefer a diet of gophers, rats, and mice--food that they are quite adept at finding for themselves.

As potential long-term guests, the owls have been given names: Hoot, Nanny, Al, Peter Townsend, Robert Plant, Hedwig and Archimedes.

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Jennifer van der Kleut August 12, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Super cute!
Linnaea Knisely August 13, 2012 at 03:03 PM
We have a long standing guest that lives 4" below our living room - a barn owl settled in and has raised many families in the crawl space. Awesome, except for the time that she brought in a skunk to feed them...
Joan S. Dentler August 13, 2012 at 03:16 PM
How nice that your house guest returns regularly to raise its owlets! (except for the skunk part :))

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