Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sleep, Nap or Siesta?

Have you ever wondered how many owl species there are in the world?  No one may ever know the exact number, but there are definitely over 200 species of owls in the world!  There is one owl in particular that I would like to introduce to you in this blog.  Her name is Siesta and she is a Mottled Owl (Strix virgata), formerly known as Ciccaba virgata.
The Mottled Owl is native to Mexico, Central America and South America.  The type of habitat where they are found varies from dry forest to humid lowland rainforests.  Their diet consists of small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, small birds, and insects.  From this list of the wide array of foods they eat, you can gather that they are opportunistic eaters.  Siesta’s favorite food here at WBS is mice!  She is also given rabbit, chicks (chicken), and venison (deer) on other occasions. 

Mottled Owls have a wingspan of about 3 feet and are 13-15 inches in height.  With most birds of prey the females are larger than the males.  These small owls range from 175-350g (.39 - .77 lbs.) in weight. 

Mid to late winter is breeding season for owls.  Mottled Owls choose a nest made by a larger bird in the past.  These nests can be found low near the ground or very high in the trees.  Once a year Mottled Owls will lay 2 round white eggs that hatch after about 23-28 days of incubation by the female.  After about 30 days of the chicks being in the nest they start to fledge (leave the nest). Siesta gets broody (in the mood to nest) during owl breeding season, so we give her a wooden egg to satisfy her needs during this time. 

Because of their size, Mottled Owls do not live a very long life in the wild.  They can reach 6 or 7 years in the wild, but in captivity that number can increase dramatically.  Siesta was hatched in April of 1995, so she is 18 years old this year.  We hope she will continue to age well with us at the World Bird Sanctuary. 

Siesta is such an adorable owl, that you wouldn’t think she could get any cuter!  But wait!  When you come to visit her, she will show off her beautiful long eyelashes!  When visitors approach her enclosure she will often seem to bat her lashes at them.  She is such a gorgeous little owl!

Siesta is available for adoption in our Adopt a Bird program.  To find out more information Click Here or call 636-861-3225, ext. 106.  All adoption donations are tax deductible. 

Throughout the year Siesta can be seen at the Environmental Education Center at the World Bird Sanctuary, which is open daily from 8am-5pm.  Siesta is a very interesting bird to view.  You should stop on by and visit her! 

Submitted by Lisbeth Hodges, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist

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