Saturday, January 31, 2009

Barn Owls & How They Grow

Do you remember the story of Jack in the Beanstalk?  This old fairy tale is brought to mind every time I witness the incredible growth rate of birds, as witnessed by these photos of some of our baby barn owls.

Our first photo shows two of our hatchlings at the age of 14 days.  At this stage they don't much resemble the beautiful creature they will eventually become.

This next photo is our pair at 21 days old.  They are just beginning to learn to balance, and their faces are beginning to show the characteristic heart shape for which their species is known.

At 29 days of age this basketful of babies is beginning to show more awareness of their surroundings, and is beginning to move about a bit.

At 33 days they are definitely more aware of their surroundings, especially if they spot their caretaker--who they perceive as a source of food!

At 42 days they are beginning to sprout their "big boy (or girl)" feathers, and are beginning to take on more of the appearance of a "real" barn owl.

At 49 days they are more fully feathered, but still have quite a bit of their baby down feathers.  They are now able to perch on branches and stumps (if a bit precariously), and are beginning to show quite a bit of curiosity about their surroundings.

At 63 days our young barn owl is almost indistinguishable from the adults of it's species, although he still has quite a lot to learn.

To learn more about these fascinating creatures and to experience a firsthand demonstration of their soundless flight, join us for one of our Owl Prowls.

For more information and to make reservations for an Owl Prowl, call 636-225-4390, Ext. 0.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Foster the kookaburra is back for a laugh

Here's another little video of Foster, who has not stopped laughing since the last time you saw him:

This I Believe

Following is an essay written by Junior Volunteer, Matt Levin, for his Honors English class.  Matt will be 16 this month.    He attends Northeast Middle School in the Parkway district.  He started volunteering for the World Bird Sanctuary in 2008, and has become a valued member of our team.

Junior Volunteer, Matt Levin, holding Waylon, a Blue & Gold Macaw
"This I Believe Essay"
           "I believe in the basic human need to belong.  This need to belong can  be as simple as needing friends so that you feel that you have a place in the world, or, for me, it could be as complex as continuing to volunteer at the World Bird Sanctuary.  For me, the need to belong is huge, since I don’t have much of a life outside of school, let alone a social life.
          "When I stopped to think about it, it seemed pretty obvious what I could do to fix that problem.  I could volunteer at the World Bird Sanctuary!  Not only has the World Bird Sanctuary given me a place in the world, but it also makes me feel like, to quote a Linkin Park song,” I’m somewhere I belong”.  Although I still don’t have much of a life outside of that, when I’m volunteering at the World Bird Sanctuary, I feel like I belong because all of the staff is really friendly and easy to get along with.  Also, it’s easy to see that, when I leave to go back home, that I’ve accomplished something, because I sign off for the things that I did on a chore sheet and then I can see just how helpful I was.
"Another reason why I feel like I belong at the World Bird Sanctuary is that whenever I get something done, whichever staff members are there always thank me and let me know that they recognize and appreciate the fact that I did something.  This is also a part of needing to belong--having work that you did, and could have worked hard on-- recognized in a way that you know it’s recognized.  Also, according to some of the staff members, when I started volunteering, there were only a few junior volunteers.  (A junior volunteer is someone who volunteers at the World Bird Sanctuary who is under the age of 17.  After 17, you’re just a volunteer.)  Now, however, there are a lot more than just me and around one other person.  I feel so strongly that I belong at the World Bird Sanctuary, that if I get the chance, I’m going to work there.
          "I believe in the basic need to belong and to have your work recognized in a way that you notice.  The World Bird Sanctuary helps me accomplish both of these things."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Finally! Answers to Whoo's Who #2


After a long hiatus due to the Holidays, and a few technical problems, we're finally back with the answers to our Whoo's Who Quiz #2.  Don't feel bad if you couldn't identify the species to which these little guys belong.  They don't look much like the finished product--the adults.

The two fuzzy little blondes with the Jimmy Durante schnozzes in our first photo are 21 day old Common Barn Owls.  Check back later this week to see photos of the amazing transformation these little guys undergo on their way to adulthood.

The little gray bundles of fluff in the basket (our second photo) are two baby barred owls.  This is one of the commonest Missouri Owls, and one you may be likely to hear if you take part in one of our Owl Prowls.

The next photo of the two little fluff balls with the very impressive beaks (even at this age) is one of the most impressive owls you may ever see.  These are 11 day old Eurasian Eagle Owl babies--the largest owl species in the world!  Check back soon to see photos of their fantastic  growth rate.

And finally--we have the owl made famous in the Harry Potter books and movies--the Tawny Owl.  This is the most common owl species in Great Britain, but I'm not sure anyone would recognize it from this photo of a 7 day old hatchling!  Again, check back to see this little one's amazing transformation!

To meet some of these fascinating creatures in person, join us for one of our eight remaining Owl Prowls.  These fun and fascinating programs end on February 28th, so there's not much time left!

Owl Prowls begin at 7:00 pm on selected weekends and last approximately 1-1/2 hour.  Remember to dress for the weather as part of the program is held outside on our trails where we try to "hoot up" our local owls.

Cost is $9.00 for adults and $7.00 for children

FOR RESERVATIONS CALL: 636-225-4390, Ext. 0


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chikara the trumpeter hornbill shows her stuff

In this video, Chikara, one of our trumpeter hornbills, is training for our education programs. She and her brother Astar fly between trainers while catching a grape in mid-air.