Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A new program bird for RAPTOR (and for me)!

Name: Angel (SO 08-23)
Gender: Unknown
Height: 8 inches
Wingspan: 20 inches
Weight: 6 ounces
Date admitted: November 27, 2008
Age at arrival: Adult, unknown
Injury: Right wrist fracture, dislocation
Came from: Lynchburg, Ohio
Story: Found in yard, unable to fly
We came up with the name Angel (Angelo, if it turns out to be a male...waiting on DNA test) because of a light-colored halo on the back of its head. This was reinforced by the bird's gentle nature, calm attitude and seamless transition from glove to carrier and back again. This may very well be the "perfect" program bird.
That said, screech owls are the "Great Pretenders". They mask pain and stress, and they are also very good at playing dead. Try to hand-feed one, and it may fall over in your hand with its mouth hanging open, hoping you will drop it and leave it alone. :)

My initial observation though is that this will be a good avian ambassador.

An interesting thing I have noticed in some field guides is the description of the different color morphs of screech owls. Most guides list three morphs: Red, gray and brown. Some guides ignore "brown" all together and just describe the red and gray. In my opinion, you could describe a hundred color morphs in screech owls...some are very red or very gray, sure. But there are plenty of screech owls who fall somewhere in between gray and brown, and brown and red.
This bird falls smack dab in the "brown" slot, but we have a rehab SO right now who could be a "red" or a "brown", depending on the way the light falls on it. Some are brown with reddish primaries...some grays are also full of brown....I could go on and on.

One thing that is pretty accurate: Northern screech owls are more likely to be gray and the Southern ones are more likely to be red.
Evolution fascinates me...northern woods are mostly dark hardwoods, while the southern forests are full of pines. Hardwood bark and cavities are...wait for it...brown/gray. The bark of a pine tree is reddish....coincidence? I think not.


Lynne said...

What a neat addition to Raptor!
I've never even seen a Screech Owl.

Dave said...

Small and lite too! That's always a good point for having to hold a bird on fist.

Kallen305 said...

You are such a good soul for taking care of the poor birds. I am so happy the homeowner called your organization to help this poor owl. I can only imagine the satisfaction you must feel when you look into its wonderful eyes and know you are helping to give it a second chance at life. Love your new header!

NatureWoman said...

What a cool bird, I feel bad for it, but good to know that she/he has you to help take good care of her/him!

Robert V. Sobczak said...

They are amazing creatures. They don't get a reputation for being wise for nothing. They have the look, and patience to go along with it. They know also how not to waste energy.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful owl...Poor thing, but he or she is in good hands...