Great-horned Owlets

Great-horned owlets.

Note: I am a licensed volunteer with the Ark Wildlife Rescue in St. Augustine.

It has been several weeks since we last posted. We have spent most of that time tearing up the carpeting in the house and replacing with vinyl flooring that looks like wood. It is beautiful and will work much better for us. Regis did almost all the work and my job was to declutter as long as we were moving things around and take time to plan our summer camping trip. We will be leaving the beginning of August and going to the southwest. I am attending a hummingbird workshop in Arizona in August and after that we will visit the four corners area (where four states meet).

The red-bellied woodpecker is growing its body feathers back but its wing feathers continue to come in slowly. We opened the cage last Sunday and it took at least 3 hours before the bird exited. When he did, we could see him get a bit of air time but not sufficient to release him. I enjoy watching him when he sits in front of his bowl of bark butter bits and flings one across the lanai, eats one, flings two, eats one, etc. until the bowl is empty. When I go out to clean his cage and give him fresh food and water, I step on the bark butter bits scattered all over the floor.

The coolest thing is that I picked up some great-horned owlets yesterday. I am keeping them until they can be transported to another rehab facility that specializes in birds of prey. The facility should be ready for them Saturday. I wish their mom and dad were raising them but as long as that is not the case, I am enjoying them. Regis was expecting small fluffy things and was surprised to see that each bird is the size of a football.

Great-horned owlets.

After feeding them this morning, I put them on the lanai and one of them came to the door to watch us. Dart wants to play with them and is excited. They are the biggest non-dog animal we have had around and they were big enough to get Dart’s tail wagging. The owlets were not interested in playing and puffed up their wings and clacked their beaks at Dart and he was taken a back. I think he was saddened that they did not have the same enthusiasm for play that he had. He laid down and watched them through the slider for a while and eventually went off to sleep somewhere.

Owlet looking into the house from the lanai.

The owlets get fed 2-3 times a day so they are not as high maintenance as young songbirds which have to be fed every 90 minutes or so. The owlets make up for the fewer feedings by the stuff they eat. Below is a picture of their dinner thawing out.

Regis calls this rat-a-two-y.

Our freezer is full of frozen mice, rats, and crickets. The refrigerator has chicken, mealworms, and some of Dart’s dog food. Surprisingly, there is some room left for our food.

In order to allow the red-bellied woodpecker and owlets to share the lanai, Regis had to hang towels to block their view of each other. The red-bellied woodpecker is stressed enough without having birds of prey staring at him. So far, the owlets have only made noises when we get ready to feed them. Regis tried to help feed them this morning but he was a disastrous great-horned owlet parent and will have to stick to hanging towels and setting up perches in the lanai or the owlets will starve. He does not seem to be able to get the food in the owlet’s mouth properly for it to swallow. They appear to be young enough that it is necessary to push the food into their beaks to get them to swallow. To prepare the food, I have to cut the rats, mice, or chicken into small pieces. Feeding mealworms and crickets to birds does not seem so bad now and much preferable.

While Regis was reviewing this post, I tried to make homemade protein bars. My first try at homemade protein bars did not taste well. I tried a different recipe this time. I had to stop before completion because smoke started to come out of the food processor. Perhaps I need to stick to purchasing protein bars.

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