Apr. 28th, 2017

anaisninja: (Nova and mangroves)
My neighborhood is an owlier place tonight. <3

Did a semi-soft release of a barred owl that had been in rehab since February.
One of the cutest most murderous little owls I ever did see, compromised sight in one of his eyes. Initially the hospital admin was going to place him as an education bird for another facility, or try to get him added to our permit. After watching him zero in on a small rat that escaped from one owl's pen to his, we decided to give him a chance to hone his skills. I'm glad we did, he nails live prey like the hardcore predator that he's meant to be.

Yesterday I'd given him a small rat in the evening, then gotten the go-ahead to use an injured pigeon as prey for one of our off-exhibit birds. I decided to try it on this little fellow, and despite not being hungry, he was fucking on it. Not the typical prey for an owl, but he knew what it was, that it was edible, and that he wanted it. Feeling very good that he's so driven, most owls seem to get lazy about prey after being in captivity for so long.

My neighborhood is quiet, plenty wooded with isolated streams and ponds, rats and squirrels in spades. I also have an empty mews, which I used as a place for owly to chill and get his bearings before I offered a rat and opened the doors for him to self-release. Dunno if he'll go for squirrels, but there's plenty young and dumb ones around. I know he could hear them from the mews. Hope he got a good feel of what's available in the area while he was chilling.

It did take a bit of harassment to get him out of the mews and weathering area, but once he was, he flew up to the roof of the house and perched there for a good long while. Mama Jan and I watched him for a long while as well, until he decided to fly off to a large tree a few houses down. Good place to get a look at things.

Good territory for a barred owl, I think. I know there's some a few neighborhoods over, but I've never heard them calling loudly in this particular area. Possibly a chance to find a mate next season, who knows. I've got another rat out there for him in a bin, which I know he saw before flying off. I'll be curious to see if it's gone in the morning. With any luck he'll make a mental note of this house as a relatively safe space that's good for a meal. There's always rats in the out buildings. Because Florida.

No idea what goes on in the mind of owls, or most other birds for that matter. Many have an internal GPS to help hem find their way. He might know how to navigate to his original neighborhood; we had no idea where he originally came from, he was left in the overnight dropbox back in February.

Anyway, feeling decent about giving this guy a softer start than most of our other birds. Typically people just open the crate and let 'em loose. Not the best plan for an owl, who's likely to get mobbed if it's still light enough for songbirds to be around. I waited until nightfall to open the doors, after he'd had some time to calm down and take in the sounds of the neighborhood.

I hope he stays out of trouble and finds the local roden population to his liking. I hope to see - and hear- him around for years to come.

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