Needlework, Finishing, Designing, Quilting, Some Discoveries and Adventures in Stitching from Windy Ridge Designs

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wild and Raptor - ous Day!

Today we went down to our Wild Birds Unlimited store in Winchester.  They had a rep from the Wildlife Center of Virginia (located in Waynesboro, VA) there with Raptors and Owls.

Actually, only one Raptor - her name was Kettler and she had a wing injury that never healed right.  She's been with them a long time - she's 22 years old now; about 12 years older than the maximum lifespan in the wild.  But, boy, was she pretty.  Here's the best picture of her.

There were three owls there.  The first was Buzz, a Great Horned Owl.  Buzz had a wing injury too that prevented him from going back into the wild.

Claire explained that these Diurnal owls have pigmentation in their eyes that helps them see when they fly at dusk and dawn.  Buzz was magnificent and very well behaved.

Then there was Misty.  She's only been with them for about 18 months so she can still be a bit skittish.  I'm putting in two shots of Misty; one when she was trying to fly away and the other when she's sitting still so you can see her beautiful plumage. 

Misty is a Barred Owl; named for the bar (or stripe) markings on her chest.  She flew into the side of a building and while they were able to repair her injuries, her sight was damaged enough that she cannot hunt on her own.

Finally, there was the Eastern Screech Owl.  This one, I think, was called Pinon.  It flew into the side of a train and lost one eye.  Although small, it is fully grown.  Claire said that when they are born, Screech Owls are about the size of a quarter and have to grow to full size in a month. 

She said that they have developed a lot of behaviors that protect them from preditors.  One is called "Skinnying Up" where they suck themselves all up, tall and thin and sidle up next to the side of the tree so they virtually disappear.  Boy, I'd like to have THAT particular talent!  This was a wonderful presentation.  Further information on the Wildlife Center of Virginia can be found at their website.


  1. Great pics! They are sooo beautiful. Last summer when we were in Delaware, I was driving in a wooded subdivision when a hawk appeared out of nowhere, swooped down on either a squirrel or mouse (that I couldn't see) in front of the car, grabbed it, and was in flight again--all in about a split second. We all were in awe--after we did a bit of screaming--and SO thankful that the bird was faster than the car & that I didn't hit it!

    Have a great Sunday!

  2. Such magnificent birds. Wish I could do the skinnying up trick too!

  3. What a fun and informative day! I think raptors are so dignified and beautiful. Great pics!


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