Category Archives: baby bird
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
It is truly Duck Season. All the ducks are looking for mates; even me. My life is different though.
My name is Ducky. I was brought to Fallen Feathers after I was taken from my nest. People thought that my parents abandoned me and then keep me for a few days because I was a cute little duckling. They handled me and played with me and they imprinted me. This means that I no longer associate with my fellow ducks/ducklings. I have lost my fear of humans and I know to rely on them for food rather than providing for myself.
Every year Fallen Feathers get lots of ducks that have legitimately lost their parents. The other big problem that the people at Fallen Feathers see is people buying ducklings (especially for Easter) and then wanting the babies released back to the wild or just because they change their mind. This isn’t practical and it’s not fair to us ducks (ducklings).
Please, DO NOT BUY A DUCK FOR A PET JUST BECAUSE IT IS CUTE OR IT IS A HOLIDAY.
DO NOT BUY A DUCK unless you have plenty of land (and a pond would be nice) and a place to keep your ducks safe.
Ducks cannot be Potty Trained. I also don’t like diapers and I’m very clever about getting them off.
DO NOT BUY A DUCK unless you know what it’s like to own ducks or are ready for a full 15-20 year commitment. Ducks live longer than your average pet, if kept safe and healthy.
If you still want a duck, call Fallen Feathers. We may be able to help.
I know all this because I have lived it. The people at Fallen Feathers tried to integrate me with other ducks (both my size and smaller) but I didn’t get along with them. I didn’t understand the other ducks. The ducklings my size picked on me. When I was put in with the smaller ducklings, I was scared and stayed in the corner. It didn’t take long before the volunteers figured out that I was imprinted.
Jody then had to figure out what to do with me. I am not a migratory bird. In fact, I can’t even really fly. I am a Rouen. I am the breed that is typically eaten for food. I needed a home as park life was not going to be for me. One family that volunteers at Fallen Feathers offered to take me. They have become my flock.
The family that adopted me are very good to me. Ducks stay awake nearly 20 hours a day so I have to entertain myself sometimes. We have a daily routine. We play nightly. I take baths regularly (I prefer warm water). I love to eat with the family, except bread. I don’t like bread and it’s actually not good for ducks. I really like vegetables – nearly anything green, but my absolute favorite is peas.
When the weather is nice, we go for walks. It stops the traffic in the neighborhood. I help with homework, cooking, sweeping the floors, taking care of the other pets food, and I make my own messes.
Obviously, my life is not like the other ducks. My family sacrifices a lot to have me as part of their life. If you aren’t ready to do the same, resist the urge to buy a Duckling in the next few months.
Ducky, the Rouen
P.S. I still love to sit on shoulders.