Thursday, May 27, 2010

Northern Saw-whet Owls at TRC

The Raptor Center had five unique patients last week! Five Northern Saw-whet owls were brought in. This species nests in tree cavities, and the nest tree was clear cut. The fledglings are not old enough yet to be flying on their own, so they will be raised and put through a slow release process called a "hack". There is a danger of the youngsters “imprinting” on humans in this early stage of their development, so The Raptor Center is careful to make sure there is minimal contact with humans.

As you can see, all five chicks are different sizes. Raptors are asynchronous hatchers; this means that incubation starts before the last egg in the clutch is laid. Because eggs are not laid all at once, this means that each chick will hatch on a different day or time, and they start growing and developing right away. A nest of five like this could mean that there is a difference of a week or so in age from the youngest to the oldest chicks.

Spring and summer are times when young birds of all raptor species are discovered as work on landscaping and tree cutting is done. Please make sure that as you plan these activities, you check for any signs of a tree being used for a nest. It is also a good reminder that if you find youngsters, please call The Raptor Center at (612) 624-4745. It is illegal to keep them as pets or to care for them unless you have the proper permits. For more information, please check our web page on How to Help an Injured Raptor.

These youngsters, and many others, are helped each year by The Raptor Center. This past spring alone, we assisted 31 Great Horned Owl chicks who needed help. Someone responds in each of these situations to examine the chick for injuries and then arrange transport and suitable nest relocation, all of which takes much time and money. Would you consider donating to The Raptor Center to help us continue our work?

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