Species: Barred Owl (Strix varia)
Hatch Date: Spring 2017
Reason for Captivity: Human imprint
Weight: 1.6 pounds
Joined the TRC Team: September 2017
This bird was found as a youngster on the ground near its nest in central Alabama. It was presumed to be an orphan and was transferred to a local veterinary clinic by some folks with good intentions, but not full awareness of the need for the bird to stay near its nest. The veterinary staff provided care for more than a week before a permitted rehabilitation center was contacted to take him in. Unfortunately, raptors decide who they are and where food comes from during their first few weeks of life. During this critical period, this young owl imprinted onto the humans at the vet clinic, rather than learning how to be a Barred Owl. Unfortunately, this habituation to humans means he cannot be released back into the wild. He will not "unlearn" who he is now and would likely become a nuisance animal if released, hanging too close to roadways, yards, and pets. He offers an important lesson for all of us to remember, which is to leave baby animals in the wild and to call a permitted facility right away if you are concerned about the well-being of a baby! Barred Owls are a forest dwelling owl found primarily in the eastern US along with portions of the Pacific Northwest. They feed on a variety of food, but are known for feeding on fish, crayfish, and invertebrates in riparian areas.
Photo Credit TRC Staff