Thursday, August 17, 2017

Northern Saw-Whet Owls Patients at TRC

Northern saw-whet owl in indoor flight area. 
Both owl patients in the indoor flight area.
These owls are cavity nesters, so a hutch that
would emulate the cavity was provided for them.

It’s Thursday – who couldn’t use a success story from our clinic as well as some great owl photos?

Earlier this summer, TRC admitted two juvenile Northern saw-whet owls, each from a different location in northern MN.  One was found with no evidence of parents, siblings or nest, according to the finder. The other was found dazed inside a split tree after it was taken down.

The two young owls were given supportive care in TRC’s clinic, and then “enrolled” in TRC’s “live prey training program.”  Since they did not have a parent to demonstrate the fine points of catching live prey, they were housed together and provided multiple opportunities to develop this skill.  They were monitored closely in one of TRC’s outdoor rehabilitation enclosures and as experience has shown us, one young owl was a “little quicker on the uptake” than the other.  This essentially showed the other owl how it should be done and a few days later, both were taking the live prey without much hesitation.  
During this phase, they were also given opportunities to develop and tone flight muscles in our indoor flight hall. 

After a few weeks of pre-release preparations, the little owls were released together in suitable habitat.  When the time is right, they will probably go their separate ways, just like they would have at their original nest locations.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Freedom the Bald Eagle's Training Journal - Entry #2

(For the background on Freedom the bald eagle’s journey to becoming an education winged ambassador, click here.)

Freedom is making some important progress in his training.  For the 150,000+ of you who have seen TRC at the public education offerings we do each year, you know that our winged ambassadors often appear on the glove of a trained handler.  Many months of training goes on before this can happen. The birds must become comfortable standing on a glove, and with being physically close to their human handler. Trust has to be developed so the bird feels safe in all types of program situations. 

As Freedom’s lead trainer, I am working daily with presenting Freedom pieces of his breakfast and lunch on my glove, so that he becomes comfortable with approaching and being close to me.  He has to come to me for these bites, and cannot just take them and eat them elsewhere.  Taking food and eating close to me, eventually staying on my glove, are the building blocks for trust and comfort. 
Freedom steps onto Dan's glove. 

Freedom receives his tidbit.  He has his wings and tail out for
balance as he is learning how to stand on Dan's glove.