Boy watches owls on TV, real owl joins him


Western screech-owl and Marlo Sarmiento, photo credit: Marlo Sarmiento

By Arin Greenwood, Animal Welfare Editor, The Huffington Post in the USA:

Boy Watches Owls On TV, Real Owl Shows Up To Join Him

“What a hoot!”

07/31/2015 04:50 PM EDT

Marlo Sarmiento was a few minutes into watching an animated TV show about owls with his 5-year-old son Ollie the other night when he got distracted by a blur in his peripheral vision, “which then thumped into a large window.”

“I took a look and was surprised to see a tiny owl, stunned and just sitting there on the windowsill,” Sarmiento told The Huffington Post. He immediately named the bird Elfis, inspired by the name of the cartoon owl on the TV.

Sarmiento, who lives in a woodsy part of Northern California that abuts a nature preserve, pieced together that the owl had flown in through an open front door and then banged into the closed window trying to get out again.

Birds have paid the family visits before, Sarmiento says, but usually more common blue jays and robins, and usually they fly right out of the house of their own accord.

Sarmiento speculates that Elfis decided to stick around for a bit, possibly “attracted by the owl screeches coming from the TV.”

“My sister quipped that it was a good thing we weren’t watching an episode about elephants,” he says.

Sarmiento fetched a towel to carry Elfis in and help him back outside, worried the bird was shaken up and unable to find his way out. He paused briefly during the rescue to take a couple of photos so folks would believe him when he told them about his nocturnal visitor.

“Probably 4-5 minutes total visiting time,” Sarmiento says. “Didn’t even finish the show or stay for a drink/snacks!”

This was a lucky encounter in more ways than one.

“Most birds that crash into a window or wall are suffering head trauma and could be in shock. Stress from being handled could kill them,” says Damen Hurd, a wildlife rehabilitator with Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Center in southwest Florida, who believes that Elfis is a Western screech-owl.

Hurd adds that if someone comes across an owl or other bird of prey that might be hurt, they should put the creature in a towel-lined box or dog carrier, and then get it to a wildlife rehabilitator for a checkup and any necessary treatment.

“Sometimes a bird is only stunned shortly and can be released soon after, but many die after an accident like this,” he says.

Rehabber Paula Goldberg, with City Wildlife in Washington, D.C., says that the Sarmientos are fortunate not to have gotten hurt.

“Although the little guy is as cute as a Steiff stuffed animal, it has talons, and when they latch, they don’t let go,” Goldberg says. “What an incredible moment and it is so nice to see someone else’s kids zoned out while watching TV seated next to an owl.  What a hoot!”

Sarmiento says his son has been demanding that the owl cartoon be played over and over again in the days since Elfis first dropped by.

As yet, Elfis has not flown back into their lives. Given all the risks, it’s probably for the the best that their feathered friend seems to have turned out to be more of a feathered acquaintance. But, still, if the family’s learned anything by now, it’s that you never know whoooo-whoooo might drop by.

“I am leaving the sliding back doors open just in case,” says Sarmiento.

Young long-eared owl in tree, video


This video shows a young long-eared owl in a tree in an allotment complex in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

George VanLente made the video.

Baby owl in Colorado, USA


This video from Colorado in the USA says about itself:

Boulder County Sheriff’s Deputies meet their feathery match!

Our Sheriff’s Office deputies were driving near a campground on July 23 [2015] when they were stopped in their tracks by this young Northern Saw Whet Owl. After some curious head twisting (on both sides) it safely flew away. Watch the deputy have a conversation with the baby owl as it clicks back to her.

See also here.

Golden masked owl in Papua New Guinea, video


This video says about itself:

Golden Masked Owl @ Walindi Plantation Resort, Papua New Guinea

11 June 2015

New Britain Golden Masked Owl filmed onsite at Walindi Plantation Resort, West New Britain, Papua New Guinea. This could be the first ever video of a very rare endemic owl. Video by Walindi’s General Manager Cheyne Benjamin, location discovered by Walindi’s bird guide Joseph Yenmorro.

Tawny owl colours, new research


This video says about itself:

An Introduction to the Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) – by Wild Owl

This short film by owl conservationist Ian McGuire takes a brief look at the familiar too-whit too-whoo nocturnal owl of woodlands – the tawny owl.

From the Journal of Avian Biology:

Is the denser contour feather structure in pale grey than in pheomelanic brown tawny owls (Strix aluco) an adaptation to cold environments?

Katja Koskenpato, Kari Ahola, Teuvo Karstinen, Patrik Karell

Published online: 14 July 2015

In colour polymorphic species morphs are considered to be adaptations to different environments, where they have evolved and are maintained because of their differential sensitivity to the environment. In cold environments the plumage insulation capacity is essential for survival and it has been proposed that plumage colour is associated with feather structure and thereby the insulation capacity of the plumage. We studied the structure of contour feathers in the colour polymorphic tawny owl (Strix aluco).

A previous study of tawny owls in the same population has found strong selection against the brown morph in cold and snowy winters whereas this selection pressure is absent in mild winters. We predicted that grey morphs have a denser and more insulative plumage, enabling them to survive better in cold climate compared to brown ones. The insulative plumulaceous part of the dorsal contour feathers was larger and the fine structure of the plumulaceous part of the feather was denser in grey tawny owls than in brown ones. In the ventral contour feathers the plumulaceous part of the feather was denser in females than in males and in older birds without any differences between morphs.

Our study suggests that insulative microscopical feather structures differ between colour morphs and we propose that feather structure may be a trait associated with morph-specific survival in cold environments.

What young little owls eat


This is a little owl video.

The little owl study group STONE in the Netherlands reports today, 19 July 2015, about what one little owl nest with three youngsters ate in this year’s nesting season.

4221 times, the parents brought prey to the nest. This included 1171 cockchafers, 946 earthworms and 741 caterpillars and other larvae.

The complete report is here.

New bird reserve in Scotland


This video from Britain says about itself:

22 December 2011

As difficult species go, the Long and Short-eared Owl pairing are amongst the most challenging to identify, especially in flight. The latest identification video from the BTO offers tips on how to separate both, in flight, perched and by calls.

From Wildlife Extra:

New RSPB reserve for Scotland

A tranquil area of wetland and grassland on the south-eastern edge of Alloa has become RSPB Scotland’s newest nature reserve, and the charity’s first in Clackmannanshire.

Black Devon Wetlands is a special place for birds and wildlife, such as snipe, short-eared owls, teals and black-headed gulls.

Work to improve the various habitats at the site has already started, with much more planned for the next few months. Visitors are also set to benefit from new paths, viewing areas and signage, and a series of events will be advertised in the near future.

RSPB Scotland’s Anne McCall, who’s the Regional Director for South and West Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to be taking on the management of the Black Devon Wetlands and we hope to transform it into a reserve that will not only help wildlife, but also provide local people with a great nature experience right on their doorstep.

“The Inner Forth is internationally recognised as an important place for birds, and the establishment of this reserve adds to a wider mosaic of habitats that are beneficial for a whole range of different species, as part of the RSPB’s landscape-scale project, the Inner Forth Futurescape.”

Black Devon Wetlands were originally created when soil was excavated from the site to cap an adjacent area of landfill. Its managed lagoons were first formed by Clackmannanshire Heritage Trust, and these were then extended in the mid 2000s by the council’s landfill project.

Councillor Donald Balsillie, Convener of Enterprise and Environment, said: “Clackmannanshire Council is pleased that the award-winning Black Devon Wetlands are being leased to RSPB Scotland to carry forward its development.

“The council and RSPB Scotland are working in partnership through the Forth Coastal Project, funded by the Coastal Communities Fund and the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative, a Heritage Lottery funded project, to enhance the wetlands habitat and accessibility.

“This joint working will ensure the long term management by a respected conservation body for this unique natural heritage site located right on the doorstep of Clackmannanshire residents.”

This project has also been made possible with the contribution of the LIFE+ financial instrument of the European Community – EcoCo and Clackmannanshire Heritage Trust.