For the latest installment of Friday Feathers:
One individual family of this species of bird can eat more than 3000 rodents in a single nesting season.
This bird is the only representative of its genus in North America.
*that small freckle is a clue*
And check out the foot on this gal:
This great horned owl was caught in a soccer net. She is huge, too. More than 1600 grams. (for you non-mathical types: One pound translates to 453.5924 grams. It's a lot easier to just round it up to 454 grams per pound. So this bird is approaching 4 pounds. And she is probably a young bird, as you will see below. Look at that foot! Stretched out, it's nearly the size of a human hand.
She is being prepared for release and we like to band the birds who are going out. It's a good way to judge our success at rehabilitation. One really great band recovery I heard was a red-tailed hawk...eight years after its release, it was found dead. In Michigan. Sounds like it resumed its life and then some. But this GHOW is so huge, we didn't have a band BIG ENOUGH to fit around her leg.
To mark her, nail polish was used. An owl manicure.
Hot pink. Cause she's a girl. Will this bird end up in another soccer net? We will see...of the last four GHOW's who have come in, three were out of soccer nets.
Here's why it is thought she is a young bird:
Big time mantling. She looks like a peacock, doesn't she? That's a young bird thing to do.
"I'm a big scary bird....see how huge I am? I will kick your *ss if you come any closer."
Update on "hawk in barn" being "handled and hugged by well-meaning people":
The people were unwilling/unable to drive to meet a volunteer half-way, but they said they would give $25 to whomever came out to get the bird. I had to call in reinforcements and get Peggy (our dispatcher) involved. Hopefully she is able to find someone willing to go that far. Hurrumph. Dave at Bird TLC has airlines at his disposal. I understand the reluctance to drive that distance with gas at $4 a gallon. If I hadn't driven nearly 800 miles this week, I would have done the trip. I did a program every day this week, with an average of 100 miles per program. And the Adams County program was 270 miles. I wondered if we would have to take out a second on the house to pay for all that fuel.
Oh! Funny story:
Today's program was at the Cincinnati Nature Center. The guy who sits at the desk at the visitor center was excited that I had brought Lucy the Peregrine. He has hoped to stick his head in to see her, but he wasn't able to. After the program, I asked the guy if he would like to see Lucy. I got her out, and it drew a crowd (as these beautiful birds I work with, tend to do). I put her back after a few minutes and asked if he would like to meet the BARN OWL. I took him out and he did what he does every time he comes out of the carrier. Well, needless to say, it was loud. Really really loud. And people started pouring out of the offices. The looks on their faces was priceless. Even Bill Hopple, the president/ executive director came out to see what was going on. It was great. Everyone loved it.
It's not every day that a owl screaming like a woman being murdered is heard inside that building. It was huh-LARRY-us!