Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Day with the Owls

Yesterday, I paid a visit to the Richmond Nature Park, where a presenter from the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (O.W.L.) was scheduled to appear.

The Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society is a non-profit organization whose volunteers are dedicated to public education and the rehabilitation and release of injured and orphaned birds. The Facility specializes in raptors.

For more information about O.W.L., visit HERE

I learned more about owls than I had ever hoped. The presenter was extremely knowledgeable and his passion for Owls came out as he spoke. He explained the basics; their anatomy, how they hunt, and what they eat. He then introduced his guests:

Scooter, the Western Screech Owl:

Scooter came to OWL in August 2002 from Tahsis, B.C. Scooter had old breaks on his right wing with some calcification. Despite physiotherapy and heat, the wing remained stiff. Continued therapy was done but Scooter is now a permanent bird visiting schools and off-sites.

Next, he introduced Jessie, the Barred Owl [..and my personal favorite!]:

Jessie came to OWL October 30, 1997. She was hit by a car while hunting along Dewdney Trunk Road, in Maple Ridge. Hunting beside the road is common for owls because the grass is mowed and food scraps like apple cores often get thrown out of car windows which will attract rodents and small birds making the prey easier to catch.

Jessie had some bruising on the chest and several indications of serious head trauma. She was also quite shocky and emaciated. After several months of rehabilitation, she was finally able to catch live prey and was about to be banded and released. Unfortunately she did not attempt to flee from those sent to her cage to band her. In fact, when approached, she stepped up on the gloved hand and allowed herself to be carried about her cage.

It was evident the head trauma had caused brain damage that would prevent her release. She is now a part of the OWL education programs and goes out to schools in the Lower Mainland.

Last, but not least, he brought out Curious George, the Barn Owl:

An adult male barn owl, Curious George was brought in to O.W.L. May 1998 as a baby. It appears that the tendons in his right wing are too long for proper mobility of the wrist. When he flaps his wings his wing hyper extends therefore he cannot make the intricate maneuvers to be an efficient hunter. Curious George has settled down as an adult because when he was a baby he was your typical nasty barny baby. He has adapted very well to captivity and is now used in the education program both on and off site.

After the workshop, I went outside to visit my favorite feeding stations at the Nature Park. Here are just a few of the visitors I saw there:

I plan to visit the O.W.L. facility next weekend. I hope to see the Great Grey Owls, the Northern Saw-Whet Owl, the Peregrine Falcons, and the Golden Eagles - all Front and Side Education Birds and regular residents of O.W.L. Check back next week for photos.


  1. Love the little chickadee and downy on the suet...both so cute!!

  2. i am loving Jessie as well.

    very nice post.


  3. I had really hoped to get a 'head-on' shot of the Western Screech, but he wouldn't take his eyes off his handler for even a second.

    Jessie, on the other hand, was checking us out.

  4. Great post Kim, love the pics. Looking forward to your next visit and post.

  5. those owls are so cute, great pictures Kim