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Happy Hoot: Cal City community rescues baby owl

California City firefighters, residents find baby owl a temporary home after wind knocks down its home/tree.
Posted at 10:20 PM, Apr 29, 2024

CALIFORNIA CITY, Calif. (KERO) — A baby owl needs help after losing his home/tree to strong winds in California City; firefighters and residents come to the rescue.

  • Dawn Ferguson, who was off duty as a Cal City Fire Department administrative assistant, helps with the rescue of a baby owl in distress.
  • Melissa Gomez takes in the owl and says 'Baby Hoot' is like one of her children.
  • Gomez plans to release the owl back to his natural habitat within the next few days.
  • Gomez' grandson, Sebastian, has formed a friendship with the owl.


When the wind rushed through Cal City on Friday... "who" knew it would be an opportunity to come together to save an owl!!

I'm Steve Virgen... your neighborhood reporter in the high desert...

A baby owl was in trouble.. after the tree he called home was uprooted... but Cal city firefighters and residents came to the rescue.

Virgen: "Does he have a special place in your heart?

Dawn Ferguson: “Oh yes. He always will. I’m hoping he just kind of stays around the area so we can see him every now and then.”

Dawn Ferguson is one of many who have been drawn to the little owl known as "Baby Hoot."

Ferguson, the administrative assistant to the Cal City fire chief, received a call during a windy Friday. She was off duty, but when she learned of the owl in distress, Cal City resident Melissa Gomez and Socorro Chavez, the city clerk who was let go last month… soared in to help!

Zack Akins and Gabriel Garcia were among the firefighters who saved Baby Hoot.

“I’m glad the baby didn’t have a hurt wing or anything. It seemed like it was stunned," Ferguson said,

Ferguson has been a city employee for 20 years, including five years with animal control.

Gomez simply loves animals.

Virgen: “When you see Baby Hoot what’s like the first things that come to mind.”

Melissa Gomez: “Another one of my kids. It’s just a baby. Cute. Adorable. I like just watching it because it’s unique.”

Melissa’s grandson, Sebastian, has formed a friendship with Baby Hoot.

<Sebastian near the owl>

The owl’s home had been a tree at Robert P. Ulrich elementary school for more than 50 years.

With winds over 50 miles per hour, the tree fell onto an electrical box and took out the fence.

Virgen: Does it seem like Baby Hoot has become kind of special in this community?”

Socorro: “Definitely. This is just another chance for hope, I guess you can say, for our community, because every time we go through something really rough, our community comes together.”

Melissa plans to release the owl back into his natural habitat within the next few days.

In Cal City I'm Steve Virgen your neighborhood reporter.

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