Remember those early days of shelter-in-place when we couldn’t get enough of animal livestreams?
One of our favorite pastimes in the spring of 2020 was watching a YouTube video called “Relax With Sheep.” Filmed at Shafer Vineyards, the video stars a herd of sheep grazing between the vines at the Napa winery estate. The video, which is six hours long, turned out to be a great distraction; the sheep’s baas served as a soothing ambient sound.
Judging by the sheep video’s 315,715 views and 263 comments, it was also a hit with others — The New York Times even wrote an article about it.
Now, two years into the pandemic, Shafer Vineyards just released another animal video with a high cuteness factor.
After months of filming and editing, the Napa winery recently posted a four-part video series on their Instagram and Facebook pages that follows the rescue and rehabilitation of two adorable baby owls. On Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, Shafer Vineyards debuted a seven-minute version of the video on their YouTube channel.
The two great horned owls were rescued by volunteers from the Napa Wildlife Rescue (NWR) last March after they fell from their nests. They were rehabilitated together and then spent time on a sanctuary at the Shafer Vineyards estate before their release. The sanctuary had been donated to the wildlife rescue in 2016.
“We had a four-acre parcel that would do NWR more good than it would ever do us,” said Doug Shafer, president of Shafer Vineyards. “We met with them and learned they could use it as a rehabilitation site. It was an easy decision to donate the land for that purpose.”
Shafer Vineyards and the Napa Wildlife Rescue formed a partnership and the vineyard sanctuary now serves as a temporary home for rescued animals before they are released back into the wild. The volunteers and staff at the Napa Wildlife Rescue work around the clock to rehabilitate orphaned and wounded wildlife. The video provides a behind-the-scenes look at the nonprofit and its work.
Like the sheep that graze the Shafer estate, owls and other birds of prey play an important role in the winery’s efforts to sustainably farm and manage its more than 200 acres of vineyards.
“Raptors such as owls and hawks have been our partners in sustainable farming since the 1980s,” said Shafer. “More than 30 years ago, we erected hawk perches and owl nesting boxes in our vineyards to encourage raptors to find a home here and control the population of gophers and moles that would chew up vine roots.”