Monday, February 27, 2012

Quick Auction Update

Hi there!

Just wanted to give a quick summary of how the Auction went. Sorry it's taken me awhile, but it took me forever to fall asleep after the excitement of the glamorous evening, so I was useless all day Sunday, and have only gotten around to blogging now. And, as I said, this will only be a quickie: a full entry with stats, juicy gossip and loads of pictures will be coming down the line soon!

In short, the night was an enormous success! The Humans were dressed to the nines, and the Raptors were groomed to perfection. Hundreds of auction items lay sparkling on the tables, surrounded by people armed with bid cards, smiles, and wallets generously opened for the night. The live Auction was a hoot (hehe) as always, with the auctioneer raking in money for the RMRP with charm and clever tricks.

Myself, I was perched in a corner watching the night unfold, and hissing at anyone who came near me. I've seen many of these auctions from the same perch, and I knew before the Humans did that it would be a record-breaking night. After all the guests had gone home and the numbers were crunched, the Humans announced with smiles that they'd earned more money for the birds than ever before! Being a recipient of that money myself (in the form of mice, of course), I too was overjoyed at the news. Well, 'overjoyed' may be an overstatement. Let's just say I stopped hissing as much.

The Humans and the Raptors relaxed and unwound for the past couple of days, taking a well-deserved break from the pandemonium of organizing an event of that scale. But the break is over, and we're already back into the groove of rehabilitation, education and research, but now with much-needed money in the bank to support our cause for a little while longer.

I and the other educational birds would like to extend an enormous thank you to those who attended this year's benefit auction! And to those of you who missed it, don't fret: it happens every year!

Stay tuned for pictures!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hey Baby

You may not realize it, but spring is in the air. Actually, spring was in the air weeks ago when I first started exchanging hoots with the gorgeous wild Great Horned Owl that perches in the tree outside my cage. It's very Romeo and Juliet, except that I (Juliet) am only flirting and leading the handsome fella on. But I can't help myself--his hoots are so deep and resonant. Still, he'll be pretty surprised the day he comes down for a visit and realizes where I live.

It's not just me in a lovin' mood right now. The old Red-Tailed Hawk nest on the property is being taken over by a nesting pair of Great Horned Owls, and they're hooting up a storm every night. It's all "Hey baby" this and "Hey Baby" that. Even a couple of Great Horned in recovery cages are cozying up to each other and hooting sweet nothings in each others' ears.

Yes indeed, spring is in the air, and it's at least two weeks early. That means, of course, that what the Humans refer to as "Baby Season" is just around the corner. Then the orphans and other youngins start pouring through the doors, and the busy time of year is officially kicked off.

I can't tell what exactly the Humans think about this. On one hand they seem unenthusiastic, like they're already anticipating all the work that goes into raising raptor chicks without imprinting them. But sometime they seem excited, and I definitely overheard someone mention "the way baby owls smell" with a touch of longing in her voice.

Any way you slice it, there will be babies here at the RMRP sooner than later. And as a foster mom myself, I can assure you that some interesting stories and fun pictures will definitely be coming down the line.  I'll be sure to let you know the moment our first babies come through the door!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Q&A Corner - Nicknames

I reader recently sent me a question about the alternative names Humans use for common raptors. She asked, "Why do I never hear the RMRP talk about rehabilitating sparrow hawks or pigeon hawks?"

The reason is that "sparrow hawk" and "pigeon hawk" are not the real [scientific] names of those birds. Many of these names have roots in Europe, whereas others are simply based in habitat or prey items. Here's a rundown of bird 'nicknames' and where they come from (please note that I relied heavily on Wikipedia for most of this information):

  • Sparrowhawk = American Kestrel: Sparrowhawks really do exist, but primarily in Europe and Asia, and not in North America. When used here in the US, 'sparrowhawk' refers to the American Kestrel, which is funny because the real Eurasian Sparrowhawk looks nothing like a Kestrel, which is actually a falcon. The AOU Checklist of North American Birds mistakenly referred to the American Kestrel as a Sparrowhawk until the sixth edition came out in 1983, which is why the name has stuck around so persistently.  Interestingly, some other colloquial names for the Kestrel are Grasshopper Hawk (they do like to eat grasshoppers) and Killy Hawk (based on its [annoying and loud] call). 
  • Pigeon Hawk = Merlin: Another case of mistaken identity, the Merlin is a falcon that was called a hawk for a long time. This name didn't come over from Europe, though; it's an entirely North American invention. The first known use of the name Pigeon Hawk was around 1728, and it's definitely not an inaccurate name: the Merlin is known to take down pigeons! 
  • Duck Hawk = Peregrine Falcon: Anyone else notice that the three most common nicknames are all falcons being referred to as hawks? I'm sure the Kestrel next door to me will notice when he reads it...and then I'll get an earful! Anyways, the Peregrine Falcon used to be commonly referred to as the Duck Hawk. The name almost certainly refers to the birds' skill at snagging and killing ducks, although, having heard our resident Peregrine when she's upset, I think it could also refer to the honking noise they sometimes make! Haha. Don't tell her I said that. 
  • Marsh Hawk = Northern Harrier: At last, a colloquial name that doesn't apply to falcons! The Marsh Hawk is code for the Northern Harrier, also known as the Harrier Hawk. In Europe these birds are referred to as Hen Harriers. Marsh Hawk is an example of a nickname derived from habitat: marshes are one of its favorite hunting grounds. 
  • Chickenhawk = Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Coopers Hawk, and Red-Tailed Hawk: Really, Humans? I understand not being able to tell the difference between a Coopers and a Sharpie, but saying that either of those is the same as a Red-Tailed Hawk...well, it's easy to see why Humans aren't renowned for their eyesight. 


Alright, that's all I can think of for now. Know any more? Let me know in a comment!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thank you!

I wanted to send out a huge thank you to the Humans who have been posting comments on my posts, and emailing questions to me (talons of doom (one word) @ gmail . com). It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to have feedback! Well, as warm and fuzzy as a Great Horned Owl gets.

Sending hoots of gratitude your way!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Counting down...

...to Auction night!

We're all atwitter (ahoot?) here at the RMRP. There are only two and a half days remaining before the epic and glamorous night commences! I'm so excited I can't even sleep during the day! We haven't yet been told who will be going, so we're all preparing just in case. I've spent all week preening my feathers and cleaning the blood off my feet so I'll look perfect for the big night. Here's what some of the other birds are saying about preparing for the Auction:


  • Eastern Screech Owl: "Ugh, I seriously need to lose some grams before Saturday. I won't even be able to fit into my box!"
  • Bald Eagle: "Excellent, an excuse to wear my favorite perfume, eau d' trout. Wows them every time!"
  • American Kestrel: "I'm so going to smuggle in my phone and Tweet about this."
  • Long-Eared Owl: "I'm surrounded by brutes. Why must I be the only bird at the Auction to maintain good posture and eye contact?" 
  • Swainson's Hawk: "We're going to Auction? Is that in Argentina? I'm so confused." 
  • Red-Tailed Hawk: "Dance party!!!" 
  • Turkey Vulture: "I know it's a 'black tie' affair, but how about a 'black everything'? Will that work?"
  • Prairie Falcon: "Can someone please find my some bling? Please? Anyone?"
  • Common Barn Owl: Wait, will she be coming? Because I can't go if she doesn't go."
  • Rough-Legged Hawk: "I'll be sure to wear my most dapper cummerbund." 
  • Burrowing Owl: "If anyone refers to me as 'Marvin the Martian' again, I will eat them. Seriously. Eat them." 


As for me, I'm just going to try to sneak in my camera and get pictures of everything for those of you who won't be able to make it! And as for the rest of you, have you bought your tickets yet? Get them here!

Oh yeah, the menu is now available at that link as well. Doesn't look good to me (Spinach and cheese ravioli?  Cheesecake? Where are the mice and rats?!), but the Humans are drooling over it. Also, I overheard the Humans talking about some of the live auction items, and I'll give you a hint: some lucky spenders will be taking amazing vacations to warmer lands!

Okay, that's all for now. Can't wait to see you there!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Some more 2011 statistics

Sent the Bald Eagle in on another klepto-mission last night. She came back with an interesting document on medical statistics from 2011. Interested?

Reportable injuries - Reportable injuries are things like high-voltage trauma (HVT), poisoning, and gunshot wounds, those unhappy side effects of the Human presence in raptor habitat. These are injuries that are reported to the State because they're trying to figure out how bad the problems are and what can be done about them.

  • 26 reportable injuries in 2011 (compared to just 14 in 2010)
  • 4 of these injury types were new for the RMRP:
    • leg-hold traps (multiple)
    • power line collision (as opposed to shock)
    • methane burner flare
    • wind turbine
  • 2011 saw twice as many HVTs as 2010
  • Three of the HVTs were tracked back to a specific power pole, and those three poles were retro-fitted by the electric company to be raptor-safe. Three cheers for working together to fix the problem!
You may be interested to know that the methane burner bird, a young Swainson's Hawk, is still with us, doing well, and waiting to molt and grow in a whole new set of feathers. I'll be writing about him soon! 

2011 injury and release stats - these stats do not include overwintered birds from 2010
  • 242 birds admitted
  • 47% of all birds admitted were released
  • 84% of birds who survived the first 48 hours were released (This statistic is really pretty amazing. What it essentially means is that of the birds who had a fighting chance, the potentially-savable birds, 84% of them were released! That's incredible!)
  • 56% of admitted birds were first-year birds, Of those, only 26% were orphans (kids with nothing wrong with them)
  • 53% of known injuries were hit-by-car
  • 17% of known injuries were window strike
  • 14% of known injuries were HVT
  • Over 50% of admitted birds had injuries of unknown cause
  • 40% of injured birds had at least one fracture
  • 23% were emaciated (not just underweight)
  • 25% had head and/or spinal trauma
  • Birds that were released stayed an average of 44 days
Live prey used in 2010 - this is what we call "mouse school", or making sure that injured or immature birds know how to hunt effectively before they are released back into the wild. 
  • 55 quail
  • 287 mice
  • 149 rats
Amazed by what these birds go through just trying to survive? Want to support the RMRP's efforts to save them? Click here or check out the "wish list" page in the banner at the top. 

Whew! That's a lot of numbers for my head. I'm going to go hoot out the window for awhile. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Raptors in the News - Vulture Restaurants in Nepal

Really interesting article on how Nepal is working to save its endangered vulture populations. The Turkey Vulture down the hall from me is hoping they'll open one in his cage. Read it here! 

By the way, what do you think the dog in this picture is thinking?!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sad News - A Death in the Family

We here in the RMRP family are all mourning today, Raptors and Humans alike. The Great Horned Owl that we refer to as the Old Male passed away yesterday, leaving an Owl-shaped hole in all out hearts. For those of you who never got to meet the Old Male, let me tell you a little bit about him.

He became an Educational Ambassador way back in 1996, and was already an adult bird, which means he was at least eighteen years old when he passed away! He never would tell any of us his actual age, but we're pretty sure he was considerably older because he was always grumping about us 'young kids' making too much noise at night.

He was one of the first birds I can remember meeting when I began my training as an educational bird, and I've used him as a role model ever since. He was always well-behaved when being handled, one of the best of us, but he still hissed and clacked at every single person who came near (or even looked into his cage!) so that the Humans would always remember that he was a wild bird, no matter how good he was on the fist. And he was great: during his stay here I'm sure he went to many hundreds of programs and exhibits.

To quote a Human I overheard, the Old Male was "a fighter and a lover," which I definitely agree with. He contracted and fought West Nile Virus not just once, but twice, and kicked its butt both times. And while living out at the ELC he and his female roommate became inseperable: they were forever perched side-by-side on their A-frame, no space between them, hissing in unison at whomever dared disturb them. Sadly, she passed away many years ago.

The Humans are unsure why exactly the Old Male died. He had a medical procedure earlier this week to remove a mass that had developed in his body. He'd been recovering well and had a good attitude (hissing and clacking at everyone, like usual). His extreme age, which was only achieved because he was so well cared for in captivity, was probably a factor. The Humans are waiting for lab tests to give more info.

But whatever the reason for his passing, and no matter how sad and lonely we're all feeling without him in our lives anymore, it makes me happy to imagine him and his mate flying together through the night sky somewhere over the plains of Colorado.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Two Bald Eagles = Double the Fun

Not many new neighbors have been coming through the cages recently. Like I said, it's winter, and, everyone is grateful to be experiencing a "slow season". But of the few birds who have been passing through, two (!!) of them are Bald Eagles, and they're both handfuls, but for different reasons.

Bald Eagle #1: In for the long haul

Just down the hall from me is an adult Bald Eagle that came in barely able to use her legs and feet. The Humans have determined that she had spinal trauma that left her out of touch with her extremities. Their solution: physical therapy. For a couple of weeks they were catching her regularly to work her legs and feet through something they call "PROM", or "passive range of motion." That means the Humans are holding on to her legs/feet and moving them through their normal range of motion, one joint at a time, then the whole shebang at once. The idea is that the nerves and muscles in the legs/feet have "forgotten" how to do what they're supposed to, and PROM will help them "remember" more easily. 

Then, in recent weeks, they've moved her to "AROM", or "active range of motion." That means they're setting things up in her cage in such a way that she's putting herself through physical therapy. Naturally, both Humans and Eagle are enjoying the reduced interaction. The way the Humans have her doing AROM is by providing her with numerous perches in a wide range of shapes, heights and styles. In order to get to her food, she needs to negotiate some of these perches. This makes her use her legs and feet on her own, in little baby steps, with a food reward at the end. Excellent. 

What's most interesting about her case, in my opinion, is that the Humans are spending a lot of time right now rebuilding her confidence. She would eat me if she knew I were writing this, but the truth is, she's lost all confidence in her ability to use her legs and feet! Even though you don't imagine an animal as majestic and indomitable as a Bald Eagle having confidence issues, it makes sense when you think about it: she must have pushed herself hard when she first lost her ability to use her legs and feet, refusing to believe that she couldn't move like an Eagle anymore, and her reward was probably some harsh face-plants and deep bruises. We Raptors aren't dumb--we're quick learners. And if we crash and burn a few times, and it hurts, we stop trying. 

 So in addition to providing AROM physical therapy for her, the perches in her cage are also baby-stepping her back up to her old Eagle-level of confidence, allowing her to progressively jump higher and land more solidly as her body heals. I often overhear the Humans talking about her, and they say she's making slow-but-steady progress, and there's hope that she'll make a full recovery. But it's going to take a long time. 

I tell you what: the day she achieves her old level of strength and confidence, and remembers how to use it...well, I wouldn't want to be the one in the cage with her. Those feet are big. 


Bald Eagle #2: Kamikaze Knucklehead

Well, that's not what I call him, but I've overheard the Humans referring to him this way. This immature Bald Eagle came in with a whole bunch of injuries: a fractured coracoid, an injured leg, and some pretty severe lead poisoning. The coracoid is one of those specialized bones we birds have in the shoulder-region, and it allows us to beat our wings strongly enough to fly. In other words, it's pretty essential. It's also difficult to fix a fractured one because it's located deep within the shoulder muscles. Pretty much the only thing the Humans can do to fix a fractured coracoid is keep the bird calm and quiet for a couple of weeks until it heals on its own.

Well, thank goodness for leg injuries and lead poisoning, or this Eagle would never have healed! I wouldn't normally wish those things on anybird, but the combination of illness and pain is the only thing that kept this "knucklehead" quiet enough for his coracoid to heal reasonably well. As soon as he started feeling better he put up a fight at every turn, most notably by heedlessly smashing into anything around him while trying to get away. Solid wall? So what. He'd try to go through it. 

As soon as he was deemed fit enough, he was moved into a larger cage--maybe he wouldn't bash around so much? No such luck--he still thought he could break through wooden slats with his 6-pound body. All last week the other birds and I tried to tell him to chill the heck out, but he wouldn't listen. Some birds are just born with more determination than others. Gotta give him props for trying, though! 

It didn't take long for the Humans to decide he was fit enough for one of the large flight cages, a place where he can really stretch his wings and practice using that damaged coracoid. He was moved out there today (finally, some quiet around here). Did he stop running into walls in the bigger cage? Hardly. Here's what I overheard one of the Humans saying about him today:  "As soon as I released him into the cage, he flew straight at the far wall in a straight line, and I cringed expecting the crash...but at the last second he changed directions and flew straight up---and crashed into the ceiling instead. Then he came tumbling down and landed on a perch, exactly like that was what he meant to do all along. Knucklehead." 

So, he may not be the most graceful bird around, but all us Educational Birds are cheering right now because the Eagle flew straight up. That requires lift, and lift requires a fully-functional and strong coracoid!

In case you were wondering, each of those Eagles tears through nearly a pound of fish and meat every day. Want to help provide them with lunch? Click here! 

I'll be sure to keep you updated on the progress of my amazing neighbors. Check back often! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Well-wishes to a friend

One of the Educational Birds, a Great Horned Owl who has been here forever, had to visit the doctor this week. He's a very old man at this point, and he needed some help with a health issue. He's recovering well, and I'll keep you updated. Please send kind thoughts of still-warm mice and moonlit nights his way!

Q&A Corner

....there is no Q&A corner this week.

Because no one is writing me with questions to answer.

Come on! I know you're curious about things! Don't be shy--I can't bite through the interwebs. But I'd love to have some comments on my posts and emails in my inbox (talons of doom [one word] @ gmail . com) to respond to.

Anyone...?

The Interloper – Still Waiting

I imagine this is what the rat's last moment will look like:
Here ratty, ratty, ratty….




Note that this is a Eurasian Eagle Owl, not a Great Horned like me. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Glue-Trapped Owl Update

I have big news! The Eastern Screech Owl I mentioned the other day, the one who was stuck to a glue trap in someone's yard: he has been released!! After passing mouse-school like a pro and waiting for a storm to pass, he took to the air, never to see this place again.

To the lucky Owl: may you remain glue-trap free for the rest of your days!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Interloper – A Limerick


A rat who thinks he’ll steal                                  
The leftovers of my meal
Will have quite a fright
The night I take flight
And kill him with great zeal

How I Came to the RMRP - Part III - Rehab


Three days after I was admitted to the RMRP's Critical Care Unit, I was finally able to stand on my own two feet again. I was a shaky, poorly-balanced version of my old self, but I was steadily improving under the care of the Humans at the RMRP. Of course, that's not how I viewed it at the time! I had no idea what was going on, only that I was in a small metal cage, that people kept catching me and sticking me with needles, and that I was very, very far from anything familiar. Now that I have a better idea of what was going on then, I can understand that I was kept in a small, quiet cage so I wouldn't bash around and injure myself further, and that I was caught once a day for medications that were essential to my healing (and so Humans could clean up after my stinky Owl messes).

But just because the Humans were doing all that to me for my own good didn't mean I had to take it nicely. I was too weak to fight back at first, and the world seemed to lurch whenever I moved to fast. But the first day I felt well enough to grab at the gloved hands that reached in to capture me, I did so quickly and strongly, and the Human on the receiving end gasped in surprise (although he followed the gasp with, "Ooh, good, she tried to talon me!"). That was the same day that the world stopped lurching enough for me to grab and eat the food they held in front of my beak, and I wolfed down my meal to the sounds of compliments from the the Humans. Soon after, I was able to focus on and eat food the Humans left in my cage, and they no longer had to catch me to get me to eat--what a relief that was!

But that's as far as the good news went. After a week in the CCU, and daily tests where the Humans tried to get me to look at things off to my right side, I finally figured out why I was still having such a hard time focusing on things: I was blind in my right eye. It wasn't that they were trying to surprise me when they slowly brought a finger or pen out from behind my right side until it was in front of my face...it was that they were trying to figure out where my vision kicked in over there. And the answer was: never.

I don't know if I can convey to you how horrible it was to understand that I would never again see out of my right eye. There's a reason Owls' eyes are so big: they're very, very important to how we survive. For a Human, losing vision in one eye means inconvenience. For an Owl or another wild Raptor, it means death. Without two functional eyes, Owls don't have binocular vision, and without binocular vision, how can an Owl hone in on is prey and successfully swoop down and catch it? (Actually, because of the size and importance of Owl ears [they're enormous], and the way the whole eye-ear-neck system works, some Owls can still hunt with impaired vision in one eye, but that will be a lesson for another day). But my ability to hunt like that would depend on the severity of my head trauma  and its effects on my balance and depth perception. And the only way to test that was by putting me in a larger cage and taking it from there.

Nearly two weeks after being admitted to the CCU, I was moved to a larger cage outside. It felt wonderful to be exposed to the chilly night air again, to be able to see the moonlight on the cottonwoods, and hear the snowflakes falling through the air. But it was a difficult transition. I would look at a perch, aim at it, fly, but somehow miss and end up on the ground. Fortunately, the Humans had thought ahead and provided me with enough low stumps to enable me to hop and jump my way up to a perch that I missed the first time. But it was incredibly frustrating to be unable to do something so simple and natural to a bird like me.

Had I mastered the perch-landing part of the process, the Humans would have then put me in a larger cage for more flight practice, then put live rats in my cage to test my ability to catch small, darting creatures at night with vision impairment. But, sadly, I had failed the baby-steps. I didn't understand it then, but it was time for the Humans and I to make a decision: could I become an educational ambassador?

Check back soon to see how that decision was made...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Auction update - insider scoop

The RMRP's annual auction is just around the corner on Saturday February 25th. How do I, an Owl with no calendar, know this? Because, like every year, the Humans are getting all stressy and anxious, working long hours and talking nonstop about "auction-this" and "auction-that". I even hear them working inside the building at night when the offices are usually empty and quiet! No complaints from me, though--I'm just excited! Like I said before, it's my favorite night of the year: a chance to hobnob with all my favorite Raptors and Humans, surrounded by beautiful art and exciting action.

Speaking of art and action, it just so happens that an inside source tipped me off about some of the items up for auction, and I'm sure there will be some duels being fought over the high-quality goods:

  • A slew of beautiful photos, paintings and sculptures
  • Astounding jewelry: beads, gold, jewels, etc--some of this stuff is seriously nice!
  • Books on all sorts of subjects, from kids to adults to raptors to cats to cooking
  • Handmade quilts of stunning detail and quality
  • Gift certificates for restaurants and spa treatments
  • A ski trip!
  • A raft trip!
  • Delicious liquors and food baskets
And so, so, so much more! (By the way, I was supplied with adjectives to describe the items--I don't find cheese or mezcal tasty).  

At any rate, tickets are still on sale, and I can't wait to see you there!


Monday, February 6, 2012

Glue Trapped Owl (re-post)


I often overhear Humans talking about rodent “problems”. It took me awhile to figure out what they were talking about (the only rodent “problem” I ever have is trying to eat one too fast and having to start over after nearly choking). It ends up that the Humans consider mice and rats in their homes to be a problem, not breakfast. They’ve come up with all sorts of ways to solve this problem, most of which involve killing the critters. Now, I’m a big fan of killing rodents, but I tend to go for a swift kill (and therefore a quick lunch that can’t hurt me back), whereas some of the methods Humans use are drawn out, painful, or harmful to creatures other than just the rat or mouse they’re trying to get rid of. One such method is the glue trap.

A glue trap is essentially a piece of plastic or cardboard with an extremely sticky adhesive on one side. The idea is that a mouse will walk across it, get stuck in the glue…and slowly die from starvation, dehydration, or suffocation. Nice, huh? There are dozens of other downsides to glue traps (just check out this Google image search for “glue traps”), but the one downside I want to bring to your attention today is how indiscriminate glue traps are: they will capture anything that touches them, not just rodents, Think: snakes, baby bunnies, kittens, songbirds, etc.

Now, can you think of a type of animal that would love a free rodent snack served on a platter? Say, an opportunistic hunter of mice and rats? Bingo, Raptors. Raptors are frequently the accidental victims of glue traps after they swoop down to pluck a stuck mouse from the trap; small Raptors can get stuck in the trap just like the mouse, and larger Raptors can fly off with a trap stuck to their feet or feathers, unable to get away from it.

In fact, just last week, the RMRP admitted an Eastern Screech Owl stuck to a glue trap. The Owl was found outside with the glue trap stuck to its feet and legs, unable to fly or free itself. Fortunately, someone saw the Owl and called the RMRP so it could be rescued. They were able to free the Screech Owl from the trap, and after a few days of observation, the bird is reported to be in good enough condition to be released ASAP. What a lucky Owl! For many other birds, their feathers get horribly stuck to the trap, and it’s nearly impossible to free them without damage, which leads to much longer rehabilitation time.

On a final note, I want to point out the irony of possibly catching and even killing an Owl in a trap intended to kill rodents. Owls are much better mousers than the most sophisticated mouse trap! If you’re trying to get rid of rodents on your property, maybe try setting up a nest box and luring in a family of Owls. It’s been reported that a family of five Owls will consume up to 3,000 rodents in a breeding season! I’d like to see your glue trap do that. Visit www.hungryowl.org for more information.  

Check back to find out when the glue-trapped Screech Owl gets released!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Interloper – It’s a Rat!


A dirty rat! Saw it poke its head out of its hole tonight, looking around with beady little eyes for any leftover scraps I may have dropped. I held completely still, but a Human laughed in the distance, and the rat dashed away in fear.

I can’t believe it’s a rat! What luck! That’ll be a much more rewarding meal than a mouse.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Interloper – Whiskers


You may have been wondering what’s been happening with The Interloper. There hasn’t been much activity from the little beast, probably because the nice warm weather meant it could scavenge food outdoors instead of in my cage.

But then it snowed.

And this evening, when I fully awoke from my daily nap, what did I find in my cage? Small traces of disturbed snow near the Interloper’s tunnel, almost like it stuck its craven little head out of its hole to sniff the air for…food? Signs of my presence? 

Something must have made it think twice, for there was nothing in the snow but whisker marks from its tentative sniffing.

I’ll continue to bide my time and wait for a full entrance. And then? The Interloper will swiftly become lunch. Muahaha.  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Raptors in the News - Denouncing Killing Eagles

A well-written little op-ed about people killing Eagles. Again, this is why we educate!

Groundhog Day?

Seriously? Groundhogs get their own holiday, but there's no Great Horned Owl day? When word gets out to the raptor community about this, that groundhog better start watching for bird-shaped shadows.