Monday, July 9, 2012
Up until now we’ve only given you quick peeks at one of the most endearing residents at the World Bird Sanctuary. Now we want you to meet Minerva in all of her irresistible charm!
Can you do this?
Everyone’s first reaction when introduced to this feathered bundle of personality is a resounding “Aaaaw!”
How about this?
As I was trying to photograph her for her “official” Adopt A Bird photo she insisted on demonstrating for me the many amazing angles at which an owl can tilt its head. Not only can she turn her head almost all the way around, but as you can see, she and all owls can turn them in a number of other interesting positions that would send any human directly to the chiropractor.
Let's make it a little easier....how about this?
Owls have fourteen vertebrae bones in their necks, which is twice as many as humans. This gives their neck greater flexibility, so they can turn their head around to 270 degrees. They have to do this because, unlike us, they cannot move their eyeballs at all in any direction. This is a very dry and mundane explanation for something that produces such an “AAAAW!” factor.
Sheesh! Can you at least do this one?
Is it any wonder that she’s become the darling of all the staff and visitors?
OK...I'll give you a really easy one!
Minerva was hatched at the World Bird Sanctuary’s behind the scenes breeding facility. Her clutch was part of our Barn Owl reintroduction program. However, as in Minerva’s case, we will occasionally keep one of the owlets to be trained to become an ambassador for their species. The rest of her nest mates were released into the wild to help repopulate Missouri’s dwindling numbers of wild Barn Owls.
Minerva’s training began as soon as she was ready to leave the nest. She has been learning about all the different creatures and situations she will encounter during her career as an education bird. She has already been exposed to things that would be very scary for a wild owl--large groups of people, other animals such as large dogs, umbrellas, strollers, etc.--all things she might encounter at fairs, festivals and schools. If you can acclimate a very young bird to these situations, they take them in stride as adult birds. To her credit, Minerva has taken it all in stride.
OK--the photographer tells me she has to have an "official" portrait, so here it is...she's no fun at all!
When she is old enough she will begin the next phase of her training--learning to fly in education programs.
You can help to further Minerva’s training during the coming year by becoming her Adopt A Bird parent. To adopt Minerva and receive your Adopt A Bird packet Click Here to go to the Adopt A Bird page on our website. Adopt A Bird packets make an ideal gift for that “hard to buy for” person.
Adopt-a-Bird Parents receive:
· A personal visit with the animal you adopt!!!! Call ahead to schedule a time for your personal visit and to make sure your bird is on-site
· Certificate of Adoption
· Color photo of the animal you’ve adopted
· Sponsorship card
· One Year’s subscription to Mews News
· Life History and Natural History of the animal
· 10% Discount off WBS merchandise
Invitation to Sponsors-only events such as Camera Day
· Discounts on WBS Special Events such as Owl Prowls, Nature Hikes, etc.
· WBS Decal
Your adoption donation will help to feed, house and further Minerva’s training during the coming year.
Submitted by Gay Schroer, World Bird Sanctuary Volunteer/Photographer