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Group mourns the loss of famous midtown Tulsa barred owl

Sofie sits in her nest earlier this year (Barred Owls of Midtown Tulsa)

For years, Owlbert and Sofie have been inseperable. There are hours of footage of the two together, taken by their midtown neighbors after they moved in a few years back.

"It was May, and I was mowing my yard one day and I looked up to that tree and saw a little fuzzy head pop up. It was a little owlet, and then it clicked with me that they were using the tree for nesting," said Jennifer Harmon, founder of the group Barred Owls of Midtown Tulsa.

Jennifer says Sofie and Owlbert moved in around the summer of 2013 following a derecho storm. The urban owls have attracted a massive following across the globe, even from ornithologists who were able to witness certain behaviors for the first time.

But this weekend, things took a turn. Sofie went missing.

"She left the nest in the wee hours of the morning like she normally would, and didn't return. We weren't alarmed until she hadn't returned for 12 hours. Once 24 hours went by, we knew something had happened to her. Then we had to consider what to do with the eggs," said Harmon.

The eggs were taken to be incubated in a lab to try and save them Sunday morning. Sofie's body was discovered in a neighbor's yard about the same time.

It's been a hard blow to a community, and to her mate Owlbert, who is still checking the nest for her and the eggs to return.

"He flew all over looking for her and yelling out for her. It's too bad that he doesn't really know that she's gone yet. But he'll give her time to respond before he moves on," said one of the owl's fans, Lisa Griffith.

"The neighbors are all now listening for Owlbert because he's still hooting, and they are now listening for a response, which might be another female," said Harmon.

They think Owlbert and his next mate will stay in that tree. In one week, we'll know if the pair's eggs will make it.


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