Blue Ridge Birds - Owl Edition
November 18, 2010
We’re sort of on a kick about birds at the Blue Ridge Branch. Operation Wildlife volunteer Bill Whinery recently presented The Night Shift program, which featured 5 owls: Slate, Bopper, Bam-Bam, Bardleigh, and Foster. Here are some facts I learned about these beautiful birds:
Owl babies grow to the same size as their parents within 30 days of hatching, but they are big balls of fluffy feathers for many weeks.
Barn owls are endangered in Missouri—farmers don’t build many wooden barns or buildings anymore, where barn owls nest. Farmers love them because they eat mice and voles.
Owls are carnivores. No fruits or veggies. Operation Wildlife orders mice, especially dark mice, just for the owls.
Owls mate for life. When an animal is rehabilitated, Operation Wildlife tries to return it to the location where it was found. Often an owl’s mate appears soon after its release, and the two fly off together.
And then there’s Foster: This Great Horned Owl got his name because he fosters baby Great Horned owls at Operation Wildlife’s sanctuary. And yet this large bird, which has no natural predators in the wild, will eat cats, skunks, and other owls. Its claws can exert 150 pounds per square inch of pressure as it clutches its prey. And Bill told us, that given the chance, "Foster would eat all the other birds I brought today." (And he looked like such a NICE bird.)
The Night Shift was part of our Saturday Science series, always held on the second Saturday of the month, September through May, at 2 p.m. On December 11, our program is Winter Bird Feeding. Please join us!
Blue Ridge Branch