Holy Baby Bird Season
It’s March 31. I’m taking a car ride to Fallen Feathers from Wickenburg. They thought I was a Cooper Hawk baby, but I am a week old Great Horned Owl nestling and I am already an orphan. I have cuts on my head. I was warmed up, my wounds were cleaned and then I was fed.
I don’t balance well yet. I miss my nest. It’s made to help hold me in. Mom and/or Dad couldn’t come help me after I landed on the ground since owl feet (talons) are made for crushing; killing our prey. My parents normally would keep me warm since i’m still all covered in fluff – a heating pad set on low now does that job. An incubator is ready if I need it.
As a baby, I sleep most of the day, but I do open my eyes a little. I have also quickly adapted to the silver tool that feeds me twice a day. Right now I just eat small mice, but as I get older I’ll need at least a rat a day to fill me up.
I’m learning things every day. I am honing my hearing skills. Owl ears are especially sensitive so that they can hear their prey’s every move. Have you ever seen an owl ear? Mine are easy to see right now since my feathers haven’t come in yet. Take a look.
There are lots of other babies here already. Sparrows mostly right now. 71% of the total bird count Fallen Feathers receives in a year is during April, May, June and July. I am told that there will be many other great horned owls here soon, but I am the first of this year. Fallen Feathers has gotten between 10-15 Great Horned Owls a year for the past 3 years. Friends will be nice to have.
Update – April 25th
Volunteers were not kidding. The first week i was here, several owls have arrived. The “twins” – they are at least 2-3 weeks older than me. a Barn owl, Priscilla. She screams at everyone but is about my age. This week, we got in 2 adult barn owls, and a week old barn owl. There were also two other sibling great horned owls dropped off on separate days. The first one, Harry, seems fine. The other, Troy, has some tummy trouble and needs more care.
We also have lots of baby ducks, hummingbirds and sparrows right now. We all grow at different rates and have different needs. It’s amazing to watch.
Gonzo, the Great Horned Owl