My name is Dusty, I am a Barn Owl. Today two volunteers came into my aviary and brought me inside, where I met another volunteer. This one had a big scary thing hanging from her neck. It was called a camera by others. I had many pictures taken of me (above) and I screamed at the volunteers to scare them. When I tried to fly away, they grabbed and placed me in a carrier.
From there I met the three volunteers who took me for a ride to my new home. They talked and I screeched over them, making it difficult to hear. I didn’t like listening to this “Katy Perry” person, and screamed at them to stop it.
When we arrived, I saw trees, bushes, and farmland. This would be my new home. As soon as we were about to release there was a terrible beeping sound, an alert appeared on all three volunteers’ phones at once: “Severe Dust Storm”. The volunteers refused to release in such bad weather. So we started our long drive back to the rescue where I would be safe in my aviary. I saw other birds struggling to fly in the strong wind. I am glad they didn’t put me out there.
On the way back I complained, I had a very long day and was tired; also, the volunteers stopped for ice cream, which I wanted to try. Although I did stop complaining and was silent for one song by a person known as “P!nk”. This radio thing is very interesting. Now I am sitting and waiting for my release in the aviary with some food. I appreciate the shelter, I am protected from the ongoing storm.
-Dusty, the Barn Owl
P.S. I had to wait two more days due to bad weather. I heard the volunteers talking and they put me back in a carrier and back in the car. I complained and jumped around. I lurched at where the opening of the carrier was but it wouldn’t give. I had to endure another car ride. The volunteers took me back to the same place. It was perfect and I was very happy and excited. I quickly flew away, stretching my wings, knowing I was free.
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’s seems like only days, but I have been at Fallen Feathers for over three months. My feathers are all in and I’m starting to fly. I’m not a baby any more so I don’t click for my food. I’ve started making other barn owl sounds, mainly my scream. We barn owls don’t hoot like other owls.
I don’t like being around the humans. I watch them carefully when it’s feeding time. Two days ago, one of the volunteers came into my habitat to take my picture. She told me I was beautiful. I tried to intimidate her with my wings and then I was ready to fly away too, if needed.
Today that same volunteer came and took me from my habitat and drove me away. I screamed at her to tell her how displeased I was but she told me that I would be fine and that I was going back home to see my parents. I was being released.
I don’t like car rides but it was worth it. I saw the man who took me to Fallen Feathers. He was very excited to have me back in the area. He told us where my parents live and said that I have a sibling that just started flying too. I hope they will welcome me back.
I was taken good care of. I’m healthy and strong. I’m ready to face the whole world.
Autumn, the Barn Owl