Saturday, March 30, 2013

New Construction Closing Rescheduled


New closing dates for construction project - April 3rd to Friday, April 5th

Due to the unprecedented snowstorm that dropped up to twelve inches of snow in some St. Louis areas, we have had to reschedule the scheduled closing dates for our paving project.

We will reopen at 8am on Saturday, April 6th, to celebrate "Bat"urday!

For those of you who didn’t see our original post, here it is again.


We have great news to share!  Due to a generous donation from the Beckmann Charitable Trust, we will be paving our entire parking lot and driveway on our public site.  For the safety our visitors we will be closed for the duration of this construction work.

The new paving will enhance the visitor experience to World Bird Sanctuary in so many ways:

·      It will make navigating our site easier for people with wheelchairs, walkers and strollers
·      It will reduce the amount of dust stirred up by vehicles, which is an irritant to the eyes and throats of birds and people
·      Keeping our public areas clear of snow and ice will be easier to manage, resulting in fewer winter closings.

We're excited about unveiling our new, improved site and look forward to welcoming you all back on Saturday, March 30th, when we reopen!

Submitted by Catherine Redfern, World Bird Sanctuary 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

"Bat"urday and FREE Recycling


"Bat"urday, including FREE Community Recycling Depot 2013

Event Title: "Bat"urday

Date: Saturday, April 6th, 2013

Time: 12pm – 4pm
Batty & Scar, World Bird Sanctuary's Straw-colored Fruit Bats
Event Description:
Bats are interesting and misunderstood creatures.  Did you know that their bug-eating habits are worth $25 billion to the U.S. agricultural industry?  Contrary to the old wives’ tale, they are not going to try and nest in your hair.  At “Bat”urday you can learn more about the environmental and economic importance of these animals, the threats they face, and what you can do to help bats survive.

Join us for an interesting day of bat presentations, where you’ll meet our resident Straw-colored Fruit Bats and watch our bat trainer give them enrichment.  Biologists from MDC and MoDot will teach you all about Missouri bats and give updates on White Nose Syndrome, a disease that’s killing many bats.  Meet live Missouri bats from Batworld Ozarks and learn what it’s like to be a bat researcher with our bat netting and research activity!  We will also be giving out bat house plans so that you can go home and build your very own bat house!

Featured at “Bat”urday:  FREE Community Recycling Day!
Keep it out of the landfill and help us save bat and bird habitat!  Bring your recyclables to “Bat”urday where RNA Worldwide Recycling will keep them out of the landfill in exchange for a small item from our wishlist (e.g. latex gloves; 30 gallon trash bags; etc.) – click here for a full list of eligible wishlist items. 

Items you can bring for recycling include:

Equipment
· Computers
· Network

· Medical and Lab
· Telecommunications
· AV Equipment
· Electronic Operated Items
· Battery Operated Items

Accessories
· LCD Displays (No Fee)
· LCD Display-laptops
· CD, CDRW, and DVD Drives
· Hard Drives
· Disk Drives
· Zip Drives
· Scanners
· Printers
· Speakers
· Battery back-ups
· Batteries

Miscellaneous
· Adding & Answer Machines
· Phones (Cell, Cord/Cordless)
· Pagers
· Pocket PCs
· Cartridges
· PC and Digital Cameras
· Batteries
· Power Cords
· Cables and Wire
· Appliances
· ALL SCRAP METAL

Admission: Admission and parking is FREE.  No reservations required.

For more information go to www.worldbirdsanctuary.org

Electronics and the above or similar items only—no paper or household plastics please

Sunday, March 24, 2013

CANCELLED!

WORLD EAGLE DAY has been cancelled due to the winter storm that is descending upon the St. Louis area this morning.

It will not be rescheduled in 2013.

Please check the Events Calendar on our website for other exciting events coming up in April and May!

Stay home, stay warm and stay safe!


Friday, March 22, 2013

It’s finally here!


 Do you feel like winter will never end?  Do you have the winter blahs?  Suffering from LDS (Light deficiency syndrome)?  Cabin fever?  Well we have just what the doctor ordered—a chance to get out of the house into the fresh air and enjoy one of the area’s most popular Spring events—WORLD EAGLE DAY!!

COME CELEBRATE SPRING WITH US WHILE THE WORLD BIRD SANCTUARY’S FREE FLYING EAGLES SOAR OVER YOUR HEADS!

On Sunday, March 24, The World Bird Sanctuary will celebrate World Eagle Day.  In addition to our national symbol, the Bald Eagle, this is your opportunity to see a number of other species of Eagles from around the world!  

Mark your calendars—World Eagle Day is March 24, 10:00 to 4:00!!
 Meet an Eagle up close--bring your cameras!
World Eagle Day is one of our most popular events.  It’s a chance for everyone to get out of the house after a long cold winter and enjoy the outdoors with us.  Be prepared to celebrate everything Eagle—from close-up encounters with eagles from around the world to having an eagle soar overhead--close enough to feel the draft from its wing beats.
 Have your photo taken with a Bald Eagle
There will be sing-a-longs, face painting, crafts for the kids, flight demonstrations by our free flying eagles, the opportunity to have your photo taken with a Bald Eagle, and much more. 
 Face painting is just one of the kid friendly activities
As a special treat this year members of the Comanche Nation will discuss the unique importance of eagles to Comanche culture.

So, mark your calendars. 

WHEN?   March 24
TIME?      10 AM to 4 PM
NEED DIRECTIONS?  Click Here  (Link: http://www.worldbirdsanctuary.org/index.php/about/location)

Be prepared to spend the day with us learning about these magnificent creatures.  Bring a picnic lunch, or take advantage of food and beverages from our concession stand. 

Dress for the weather and be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes as there is much to see, and most of the events will be outdoors.

As always, admission and parking are FREE!

For the safety of our birds and our other guests, please no pets.


World Eagle Day is sponsored by Ameren Missouri

Monday, March 18, 2013

Closed for Construction


Closed for construction!  Monday, March 25th – Friday, March 29th, 2013.

We have great news to share!  Due to a generous donation from the Beckmann Charitable Trust, we will be paving our entire parking lot and driveway on our public site.  For the safety of our visitors we will be closed for the duration of this construction work.

The new paving will enhance the visitor experience to World Bird Sanctuary in so many ways:

·      °  It will make navigating our site easier for people with wheelchairs, walkers and strollers
·      °  It will reduce the amount of dust stirred up by vehicles, which is an irritant to the eyes and throats of birds and people
·      °  Keeping our public areas clear of snow and ice our site will be easier to manage, resulting in fewer winter closings.

We're excited about unveiling our new, improved site and look forward to welcoming you all back on Saturday, March 30th, when we reopen!

Submitted by Catherine Redfern, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist/Fundraiser

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sunbathing Chicks


People usually see sunbathing as a recreational activity done by beach goers looking to add glow to their skin tone.

For many people, getting vitamin D3 is not something that we often worry about, even though it is a very necessary supplement. This is mostly because it is easily absorbed by our bodies without us even knowing it.  For most birds, however, there is a very intricate process for them to obtain their needed vitamin D3 supplement.  Most birds have a gland called an uropygial gland that allows them to not only obtain their vitamin D3, but also may help them to ward off insects, improve their waterproofing, reduce bacteria, and help maintain the general health of their feathers, scales and beak.
 Inset shows a close-up of the uropygial gland on this owl
The uropygial gland is located dorsally on the bird’s back at the base of the tail and is covered by a bird's feathers until they preen (running their beak along feathers, scales, skin, etc. to clean, straighten, or move their feathers).  The bird touches the gland with its beak, which releases the oil that the gland produces.  The gland has two lobes that may sometimes (depending on the bird species) have a ring of down feathers surrounding the opening (a nipple-like structure called the papilla) which acts as a wick for the oil it secretes.  When a bird moves to touch the gland, the bird lifts the covering feathers out of the way, since it can control groups of feathers.  A bird may then spread the oil throughout its feathers with its beak.  Some birds can rub their heads and feet on the gland as well.

The oil secreted from the uropygial gland contains vitamin D precursors and when exposed to the ultraviolet part of the sun’s light, is then altered to vitamin D3. When the bird preens its feathers again, it ingests the vitamin D3 from the oil. Isn’t Mother Nature amazing?
 A typical pose for a sun bathing Bateleur Eagle
So, once the oil is spread, any kind of exposure to the sun allows the process to occur.  A bird will sometimes perch in an area that allows it to receive ultimate sun light access; and to further its sun absorption even more, some birds will do something called sunning.  This is where a bird stretches out its wings and will either face its back towards the sun or it may also (in a Bateleur Eagle’s case) face the inside of its wings towards the sun. 
 This bird shows a typical preening posture
Along with the vitamin D3 process, the gland’s oil helps birds out in many other ways.  Spreading the oil along their body surface can help to reduce organism growth and certain lice and mite infestations in the feathers and on the skin.  Even though birds’ feathers are already engineered to repel water readily, this gland secretion adds extra waterproofing as well.  It can be smelled on the female and nestling Hoopoes (a colorful Eurasian and North African bird), giving them a special smell to the males of this bird. The oil helps to give Musk Ducks their musky sent during mating season and Storm Petrels (a tube-nosed sea bird) can actually identify their relatives by scent because of this oil.  Some studies are being done about whether a female bird’s oil coat looks different compared to a male bird’s oil coating. This is because diurnal birds can see light in an ultraviolet range; humans cannot.

Although the uropygial gland is very useful to birds, there are a few species of birds that do not posses it.  Some of those birds being: an Ostrich, Emu, Cassowary, Frogmouth, many Pigeons, many Woodpeckers and certain species of psittacines (parrot family: Parrots, Macaws, and Parakeets) like the Hyacinth, Lear’s, or Spix’s macaw.  These birds are able to absorb enough vitamin D3 through their skin so that the uropygial gland, for them, is not necessary.   Even though not all birds need it to survive, the uropygial gland is a crucial organ for most of the world’s birds to maintain a healthy and substantial life.

Submitted by Teresa Aldrich, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist/Trainer

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Charlie


It is with a sad heart that we must tell you that Charlie, our sweet little Thick-billed Parrot, passed away on March 10. The reason Charlie died is unknown, but our vets are working hard to figure it out.

Charlie was rescued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from a facility where he and three other Thick-Billed Parrots were being held in captivity by individuals dealing in the illegal importation and sale of exotic animals.  They were given for safekeeping to the KAYTEE Products, Inc. company of Chilton, WI, a leading manufacturer of wild and pet bird foods who were deeply involved in bird preservation and habitat conservation.

In October of 1997 Kaytee decided that The World Bird Sanctuary with their free flying flock of Thick-billed Parrots, and our emphasis on education, would be a better venue for these four representatives of this severely endangered species.  So, Charlie and his three friends, Sierra, Sonnora and Guapo were transferred into our care.

Since then Charlie has spent his days visiting schools and other large groups, and spreading the word about his species and the dangers they face from habitat destruction and poaching.  Charlie was a wonderful ambassador for his species.  After all, who could ignore this cute little fellow when he would wave at them and give one of his endearing little head bobs?  He seemed to be certain that if he was cute enough he would earn a peanut--one of his favorite treats.

Charlie will be sorely missed by staff and volunteers alike, as well as the many guests who made it a special point to visit him just to see if they could get him to wave.

Submitted by Gay Schroer, World Bird Sanctuary Volunteer/Photographer 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It’s Getting Closer!


Those of us who live in the United States are privileged to have two magnificent Eagle species that are indigenous to our part of the world—the Golden Eagle and the Bald Eagle.  However, did you know that there are 59 species of Eagles worldwide? 
 Have your photo taken with our national symbol, the Bald Eagle
On Sunday, March 24, The World Bird Sanctuary will celebrate World Eagle Day.  In addition to our national symbol, the Bald Eagle, this is your opportunity to see a number of the other species of Eagles from around the world!  
 Our other indigenous Eagle species--the Golden Eagle
Mark your calendars—World Eagle Day is March 24, 10:00 to 4:00!!

World Eagle Day is one of our most popular events.  It’s a chance for everyone to get out of the house after a long cold winter and enjoy the outdoors with us.  Be prepared to celebrate everything Eagle—from close-up encounters with eagles from around the world to having an eagle soar overhead--close enough to feel the draft from its wing beats.
 Be prepared to be thrilled as an Eagle soars over your head
There will be sing-a-longs, face painting, crafts for the kids, flight demonstrations by our free flying eagles, the opportunity to have your photo taken with a Bald Eagle, and much more. 
 There will be a variety of other activities for young and old alike
As a special treat this year Members of the Comanche Nation will discuss the unique importance of eagles to Comanche culture.

So, mark your calendars for March 24 and be prepared to spend the day with us learning about these magnificent creatures.  Bring a picnic lunch, or take advantage of food and beverages from our concession stand. 

Dress for the weather and be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes as there is much to see and most of the events will be outdoors.

As always, admission and parking are FREE!

Submitted by Gay Schroer, World Bird Sanctuary Volunteer/Photographer

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bald Eagle & Volunteer Team Up At Great Rivers Museum


 Patriot, our 17-year-old female Bald Eagle, and Volunteer Sandra Murray impressed guests who visited the Great River Museum recently on a cold wintry day.
  Patriot (Photo by Gay Schroer)
Patriot is a large female Bald Eagle who came to the World Bird Sanctuary when her nest tree at Mark Twain Lake blew into the water.  Patriot's siblings drowned.
Patriot, who was a gray fuzzy chick back then, was plucked from the icy waters of the lake and rushed to the World Bird Sanctuary Wildlife Hospital in an attempt to save her life.

When Patriot was brought in to the World Bird Sanctuary’s Wildlife Hospital she was treated by a team of WBS staff, volunteers and vets.  Then she was placed in a human Isolette where she was kept warm and dry just as you would a human baby.  At times she seemed close to death.

There were times when she looked lifeless and I can remember Joe Hoffmann, another World Bird Sanctuary staff member, saying, “Don't be surprised if she is not alive in the morning.”  Joe and I were a lot younger then and we were in charge of the hospital patients on the weekends.  Even though the odds were against her, the efforts of many staff members and volunteers, and coupled with this bird’s seeming indomitable spirit and will to live, Patriot pulled through. 
 Patriot and Sandra Lowe Murray, WBS Volunteer/Naturalist (Photo by Mike Zieloski) 
Because of the lung damage she sustained Patriot was not releasable and is now a vital member of our Education Team.  She has worked at Grant's Farm, Sea World of Ohio for 6 years and has been at Home Plate for the Baseball Cardinals for the singing of the National Anthem.  She has also been to hundreds of schools and other public and private events.

One of the most moving parts of Patriot’s job is when she appears as the guest of honor at many Eagle Scout Ceremonies where we thank the young men for building their Eagle Scout Project at World Bird Sanctuary.
 Patriot and volunteer Sandra Murray (Photo by Mike Zieloski)
Sandra Lowe Murray began volunteering with World Bird Sanctuary in May 2011.  Sandra teaches guests, other volunteers and her coworkers about birds and other creatures.  If I remember correctly, the photos that I took on this day of Sandra and Patriot were very exciting--this was the first day that Sandra held Patriot for a program.
  National Great Rivers Museum, Alton, Illinois (photo by Mike Ziloski)
Sandra frequently assists with World Bird Sanctuary programs at The Great Rivers Museum and our displays at the Convention and Visitor's Bureau located in Alton, Illinois.  Everyone who meets Sandra is impressed with her enthusiasm for wildlife and learning. She is an excellent photographer as well.

As the winter Bald Eagle season winds down, I reminisce about all the great guests from Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana with whom Sandra and I were able to share our love of Bald Eagles.

I love the winter season because of the snow and the Bald Eagles.

Submitted by Michael Zieloski, World Bird Sanctuary Director of Education




Friday, March 8, 2013

Let It Roll Off Your Back


When skies are grey and pouring rain, people will grab their raincoats and umbrellas before going outdoors.

Many wild animals will take cover under trees or in any dry space they can find because, as everyone knows, being out in the cold can be hard to bear, but being soaked to the skin along with being out in the cold is quite a bit worse. 
Blue Penguin, Christchurch NZ - Photo by Gay Schroer
Since this is very true for people and many animals, how come penguins can be seen in the Antarctic, swimming comfortably in the frigid waters, and then hopping out of the water onto the snow as if neither situation is very cold?

How about ducks and geese swimming in a pond on a cold winter’s evening, never seeming to be bothered by the chilling water? 
Tsavo, a Bateleur Eagle, shows off his beautiful head feathers (Photo by WBS volunteer Sandra Lowe Murray)
This is all possible because of the remarkable thing that only birds are lucky enough to posses—feathers!  Feathers have unique qualities that not only allow most birds to fly, but also to keep birds warm/cool and dry when necessary.
Parts of a feather: 1-Vane, 2-Rachis, 3-Barb, 4-Afterfeather, 5-Hollow Shaft, Calamus (Illustration from Wikipedia website) 
An extremely important component of feather waterproofing is the structure of the feathers themselves. The longest and thickest part of a feather is called a rachis.  From the rachis grow the barbs.  These barbs together form the vane or blade of the feather (the softer more pliable section).  Off of the barbs are smaller protrusions referred to as barbules. These are microscopic and have tiny hooks on them that connect the barbules together and by extension, the barbs themselves. When all of the barbules and barbs are hooked together (in a sort of “Velcro” fashion) this creates touch points on the feather that makes the water bead, and keeps water from seeping into the feather itself.
Note how this Barn Owl's feathers overlap, like shingles on a roof
Since bird feathers have the ability to repel water, slightly overlapping feathers across the body makes feathers act like roof shingles so that the water can roll down each feather and then off the bird.  Birds also have a gland at the base of their tails that secretes oil.  Through preening, the oil is spread over all feathers and aids in keeping birds waterproof.
Jet, an American Kestrel can control his body temperature by raising or lowering his feathers (Photo by Gay Schroer)
There is a big difference between uropygial gland oil and fossil fuel oil.  Oil spills will separate the feathers and cause gaps in the arrangement of them.  This allows water and cool/hot temperatures to reach their down feathers (fluffy feathers that generally lie below the contour feathers) and also their skin. In addition to the lack of waterproofing, the oil-covered birds will try to preen (run feathers through their beak) continuously to rid their feathers of the oil.  Not only will the bird swallow oil, constant and non-stop preening is called hyper-preening and can result in permanent feather damage (broken rachises, barbs and barbules).
Oiled Bird (photo from the Wikipedia website)
Some bird species like pigeons and herons have types of feathers called powder down. Instead of molting, powder down feathers continuously grow and the barbs break down into a fine powder which is spread throughout the rest of the feathers.  This powder is believed to help repel water from some bird’s feathers.
Some birds, such as this Great Blue Heron have powder down (Photo by Gay Schroer)
While all of the above tactics aid in keeping water off of a bird’s feathers, Sand Grouse that live primarily in the desert have feathers that capture water.  These feathers are curved and are able to keep water trapped so that, after it bathes in water (which can be miles from its nest), it can then carry the caught water back to its chicks, which drink the water from their parents’ feathers. 

So whether or not they are keeping dry or carrying water with them, something as light as a feather, is heavy with importance for a bird’s survival.

The next time you visit the World Bird Sanctuary be sure to check out the “touch table” display to see just how remarkable a feather truly is.


Submitted by Teresa Aldrich, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist/Trainer 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

2013 Avian Training Workshop


World Bird Sanctuary will be hosting its hugely popular Avian Training Workshop October 31-November 3, 2013.
 Minerva, a Common Barn Owl
If you've considered attending the World Bird Sanctuary Avian Training Workshop in the past but couldn’t work it into your schedule, now is your chance to plan ahead.   There's still plenty of time to arrange your schedule and take advantage of the early registration bonus!  Save $100 by registering before October 1st!

What is an Avian Training Workshop you may ask?  

The WBS Avian Training Workshop is an intensive 4-day workshop, which covers all aspects of housing, training, feeding and caring for raptors, parrots, corvids and many other species.  The workshop includes both classroom and hands-on training.
Even the classroom section is hands-on 
Subjects covered in the classroom section include:  
*  Establishing your own program--permits, insurance, facilities, staff & volunteers
*  Working with and training your bird--manning and positive reinforcement, desensitizing
*  Choosing the correct species to work with
*  Transportation--crates, permits, driving, flying, shipping
*  Housing--mews, jumpboxes, A-frames, flight cages, climate, hotwiring enclosures, substrates
*  Perch types--bow, platform, screen, etc.--which perch works best for which species
*  Diets--food types, frozen vs. live, storage, prep, raising food colonies, vitamins
*  Training your birds for flying--weight management, base weights, target weighs, flyer food
 Fly a Harris' Hawk or Barn Owl
Everybody's favorite--the hands-on section:
Our staff believes the only way to learn is through the hands-on experience of doing things yourself.  At our workshop you will have the opportunity to actually do the following:
*  Make jesses, anklets, leashes
*  Practice imping feathers
*  Experience coping and trimming of a raptor
*  Participate in simple public speaking games and learn how different elements make you a better public speaker
*  Fly a Harris' Hawk and/or Barn Owl with WBS staff
*  Help train a new behavior with a Raven or Crow (continues throughout the workshop)
*  "Be the Bird" in our training game
*  Participate in emergency medical care and do a gross necropsy on a raptor
 Learn all about weight management
The workshop also includes an extensive tour of WBS' facilities and opportunities to see birds and housing up close.

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED.  Workshop has a minimum of 10 participants and a maximum of 20.

WHEN:  Thursday, Oct. 31 through Sunday, Nov. 3

EARLY REGISTRATION:  Sign up by October 1st - Cost - $650/person
LATE REGISTRATION:  Sign up after October 1st - Cost - $750/person

$100 non-refundable deposit required by 10/01/13 for early registration, balance due by 10/15/13.

Registration fee includes lunch each day.

Transportation to and from St. Louis, hotel accommodations and breakfast & dinner are the responsibility of each participant.

To download a registration form CLICK HERE

Further questions?  Contact Teri Graves, 636-225-4390, ext. 0 or email workshop@worldbirdsanctuary.org


Monday, March 4, 2013

Really Weird Birds: Part 13


A bird dancing like Michael Jackson?  That’s pretty weird! 

The most odd thing about the Red-capped Manakin bird is the male’s courtship display.  During his performance, he rapidly shuffles backwards across a branch demonstrating a dance called the moonwalk!
 A beautiful Red-capped Manakin (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
You have to see it to believe it!  Click here to see some amazing footage of this Michael Jackson wannabe.

The Red-capped Manakin is one of sixty species of Manakin birds.  Manakins use a lek mating system where males gather in a relatively small area to dance, call, and compete for the female’s attention.  Males are not monogamous, nor do the males help to raise their young.  A single male could inseminate all the local females.  Therefore competition for females is high and creates strong pressures for sexual selection.  Only the best dancers or dancer gets to mate! 

Manakins will use the movement of their wings to make interesting sounds during courtship.  They can move their wings faster than the eye can see at 80 beats per second, faster than a hummingbird!  Part of this video shows a mating dance in slow motion at 500 frames per second.  Humans only see at about 60 frames per second and an average camera sees about 90 frames per second.    

The Red-capped Manakin is a small passerine (all birds from the order Passeriformes), measuring 4 inches in length and weighing only 16 g (0.56 oz).  They are found from southeast Mexico south through Central America to Panama, and then along the Pacific slope of South America to northwest Ecuador.  They prefer mainly humid forests and second growth woodlands and are frugivores, eating mostly fruits.  These birds aid in the dispersal of seeds in the forest through the passing in their feces. 

Luckily the Red-capped Manakin is not listed as endangered or threatened.  However all birds and creatures native to rainforests are suffering from habitat loss every day.  If you want to help endangered birds, part of the World Bird Sanctuary’s mission is to secure the future of threatened bird species in their natural environments.  You can help us fulfill our mission by simply visiting us and spreading what you’ve learned, becoming a member or friend, or adopting-a-bird and helping to feed that bird for a year!

Submitted by Sara Oliver, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Wild Screech Owl


This month I have chosen just one topic—a series of photos of a wild Eastern Screech Owl found near World Bird Sanctuary.
 Even for those of us who work with raptors every day, a wild Screech Owl sighting is an exciting event (Photo by Cathy Spahn)
At about 5:30 pm on February 20, as I was enjoying a leisurely day off there came an insistant knocking on my door.  When I opened it there stood Catherine, one of my co-workers and my next-door neighbor.  She was obviously very excited, and very quickly said, “…shirt, shoes, Screech Owl!”   I hurriedly put on my shoes, threw on a sweater, and then grabbed my binoculars and camera. 
 It was a beautiful red phase Eastern Screech Owl (Photo by Cathy Spahn)
We ran up the hill at WBS to Catherine’s car--not an easy challenge.  We quickly hopped in the car and went to find Jeff, who had originally spotted the owl along the edge of a road and was parked near the owl.  As we arrived, up from the ground flew a very dark, red phase Eastern Screech Owl.  As we watched the bird I started taking lots of photos.
 Thank goodness for the miracle of zoom lenses (Photo by Cathy Spahn)
After a while Jeff left, we pulled up where Jeff’s truck was because he was closer to the owl, and I was able to take more photos of this very cute/beautiful bird from a different angle.  In most cases a car seems to make a perfect “blind” for photographing wildlife.  If we had attempted to leave the automobile and approach the bird on foot he would surely have flown away.  After watching and photographing him from our car for a little while we decided to leave the bird alone and we went down the road to turn around.
 By the time we got turned around the owl had flown further back into the woods (Photo by Cathy Spahn)
On the way back we started looking for the little owl.  This was a challenge since the he/she had flown further into the woods.  However, when we did eventually spot the owl it was looking at something on the ground—possibly its next meal.  That was when we decided to move on and leave the owl alone to hunt. 

Even though we both work with birds of prey on a daily basis, spotting one in the wild is always an exciting event.  This was a life/first bird for Catherine, and was the first one I have seen in the wild in a few years.

Submitted by Cathy Spahn, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist