On an icy Friday morning, Darin Day left his home in Wyoming’s Star Valley and made the three hour drive back to Northern Utah, where he grew up.

Along for the ride were not only Day’s family, but also four cat carriers filled with squawking and hissing baby barn owls.

This was just the most recent of the countless volunteer projects Day has done with the large, white, moon-faced birds. On this particular road trip, Day relocated eight orphan chicks into active nests in Northern Utah as a volunteer with the Teton Raptor Center.

However, his history with the birds goes back four decades. As young teenager, Day says he struggled in school until a teacher at Roy Middle School talked him into entering the school science fair. His project, which looked at the diets of barn owls, took first place and started a lifelong interest in the raptors.

Since that first project, Day has built more than 100 nesting boxes around the country, taught classes about the birds and led conservation projects.

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