Sunday, February 7, 2016

Superb Owl Sunday

     With not a whole lot of time on my hands this weekend, I don't have much to share- but I couldn't pass up a fun post about owls on Superb Owl Sunday! When it comes to birds, raptors steal my heart. I think I got hooked on talons in my first job out of college with Audubon, where I handled raptors, going to schools on outreach teaching about these animals, local ecology, and the issues these and other animals face. The birds we had there were rescued, non-releaseable wildlife, many boating a slew of injuries that prevented them from living in the wild. 
     The owls did not let their injuries and shortcomings keep them down, one Great Horned in particular scared the (insert expletive here) out of me, every time, flying at you, talons bared. It didn't stop me from loving and respecting these amazing predators.
     So for today, We showcase owls from past posts and, some good old memories:

This is a (very) young me and Gladys, at the time, 32 years old. She has passed on in old age, but she was a Great Horned Owl that survived a raccoon attack when she was young. She had only her left wing. When handling GHO's, with even the toughest of gloves, you could still feel the pressure of those talons- which can squeeze at over 300 pounds per square inch. Basically making them top predator as they can eat skunks, porcupine, turkey, things far larger than themselves.
Kirk our barred owl was one of many owls with trauma, many owls get struck by cars, especially when hunting as they swoop down low to nab rodents and small prey on the ground. Unfortunately roads are a huge obstacle for these birds. Barred owls are my favorite bird call, I hope one day I get to hear or see one in the wild!
The first wild great horned owl I had ever seen was in Central Park in Manhattan.
In 2015, I also saw my very first wild screech owl- and a red phase bird at that! 
A Brooklyn Snowy owl from last year-- like the winter before this one, last year.
Going home and visiting the beach is my favorite for finding snowies-- These too are from last winter--

And last year there were quite a few Snowies, even on the same beach!
They look so fabulous on those dunes!
One thing that is super uper important to remember-- and I cannot stress this enough. Do not approach these birds closely. If you have your iphone and are dying for a photo, you should have come prepared. It irks me to witness and know people attempt to approach these animals for a "good shot." Keep your distance, be prepared (bring binoculars and a camera with zoom/long lens), and be respectful.
This bird is my fave, he got the blog started. My husband and I got to observe this guy with the sun fading in the sky. He was super beautiful and it was a very cool moment to share with Tim.
Happy Superb Owl Sunday!