Owl halts removal of giant Roseburg nutcracker

Workers found a nest with six eggs and a hatchling

The removal of the giant nutcracker in River Forks County Park was delayed when workers discovered that a barn owl had built a nest and laid eggs in the back of the nutcracker, April 21, 2015 (Bruce Leonard/The News-Review)
The removal of the giant nutcracker in River Forks County Park was delayed when workers discovered that a barn owl had built a nest and laid eggs in the back of the nutcracker, April 21, 2015 (Bruce Leonard/The News-Review)

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) – A barn owl family has taken a liking to the 41-foot-tall nutcracker in a park near Roseburg, putting plans to dismantle the giant statue on hold.

The News-Review reports that the 18,000-pound nutcracker erected to celebrate the Festival of Lights couldn’t be removed Tuesday because the owls are a federally protected species.

Workers found a nest with six eggs and a hatchling near the motor that powers the toy’s coconut-crushing mouth.

The festival is held in October, but the nutcracker is still standing because its size required organizers to revamp their truck before hauling it away.

An official with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services said crews must wait for the remaining eggs to hatch.

The government will then decide if they need to wait until the hatchlings can fly.

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