Abe Luhmann never thought he’d play parent to a baby owl, but it’s a role he’s accepted with honor.

The Minnesota native recently found a helpless owl chick who’d tumbled from a nest in his backyard, but instead of leaving her to fend for herself, Luhmann decided to help. High overhead in a tree, the bird’s real parents were frantic, a feeling the father of two could empathize with.

Forming a plan

The University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center instructed him to “put her up off the ground so she didn’t get taken by a coyote or fox,” Luhmann told The Dodo.

Unable to return the owlet back up into the tree she fell from, he did the next best thing—he made her a new place to live close by, as local news station KTTC reports. He found additional information online, constructed a 7-foot structure topped with a custom-built nest and placed the owl in it. “When I was moving her, the parents were going crazy,” he said. “They didn’t know what I was doing.”

Appreciative parents

Fortunately, the little owl’s parents soon realized there was hope for their fallen offspring yet. Now, they fly down every night to deliver food for the youngster, cozy and safe in the nest Luhmann crafted.

“I’m guessing her belly stays pretty full,” Luhmann said. “I just like the idea of being her landlord for now.”

Julia Ponder, executive director at the Raptor Center, says the growing owl baby will venture out on her own in the next eight to 10 weeks—likely an impossibility if it were not for Luhmann’s efforts.

“He’s done an excellent job,” Ponder told The Dodo. “This owl’s odds of surviving are now as good as any.”

Letting go

Of course, it might be hard for Luhmann to say goodbye when she’s finally grown, but the unofficial owl papa says the owl will always have a place in his heart—and his backyard.

“I’m not sure if she’d ever like to come back and use that nest, but it’d be OK with me if she did.”