Sunday, June 28, 2015
Raising Young Birds For Programs
Baby birds, especially Owls, are a favorite for most people. One of the amazing and fun benefits of working at World Bird Sanctuary is to assist in raising young birds for the World Bird Sanctuary education programs.
Currently I am assisting with raising a young Barred Owl. This young Barred Owl was brought in to our Wildlife hospital after a storm. Our vet was looking over this bird before we moved it to an outside enclosure for later release to the wild, and found that this youngster has eye problems. It is blind in one eye and has poor vision in the other eye so he would not survive in the wild and could not be released. The education department was asked if we were interested in a young Barred Owl and we said yes. So now begins the socializing part of the job.
When we socialize an owl we take the owl home and introduce them to human life--TV’s, music, activity, other people, and sometimes pets--with lots of supervision. This is to get the owl exposed to many different things so they become more accustomed to the situations they may experience at programs.
As the owl gets older we start introducing the equipment, such as anklets and jesses. Then the last step is to introduce perches.
When we introduce the anklets and jesses we put them on and then leave the bird alone to become accustomed to them. We then handle the bird on the glove. We pick them up standing on the glove and holding them. At first we sit with them on the glove for a few minutes. Over time we increase the amount of time they are on the glove. This gets them comfortable with the glove at a young age. Then we introduce the perch. The perch is introduced slowly so they become accustomed to being tethered.
All during this training time we enjoy the cute moments--the great looks, the playfulness they exhibit, such as pouncing on shadows, pouncing on toys, and also falling asleep in “interesting” positions. Of course, we all take lots of photos of our little charge during this stage.
Submitted by Cathy Spahn, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist
All Owl photos by Cathy Spahn