Posts Tagged ‘Barred Owls’

by , Keeper
I'm extremely excited to be working at the Museum since October 2010. My favorite part of this job- besides working with the animals- is listening to all of the Keeper stories, I hear a new one each day. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, belly dancing, and vegan cooking.
I work Sunday through Thursday. I can be found mostly behind the scenes or training the Ring Tail Lemurs.

Do owls drink water?

February 15th, 2013

While closing one night I saw a barred owl standing in the water and pondered, What is that owl doing? A few moments later I watched as the owl took several drinks of water.  I snapped some pictures with my phone and shared them with Keeper Kent who says he’s never seen an owl drink water before. Kent has been a keeper here for a long time so if he hasn’t seen owls drink then most of our readers haven’t either. In fact owls get most of the moisture they need from the prey they eat, so this is a rare sight. Enjoy the pictures below.

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  1. Director Comment :

    Which owl is that? I’m glad s/he is standing with her/his “good side” to the camera.

    Posted by Sherry Samuels
  2. If you come in at 7am you can see at least one of them drinking on most mornings. 1 Wing will also often play with the mulch in the mornings throwing it all over the place!

    Posted by Katy
  3. I believe it is 1 wing. Katy that sounds fun to watch.

    Posted by kimberly
  4. That is cool

    Posted by Haydee

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by , Volunteer
I like volunteering to work with the animals and the Keepers (both are quite exciting and entertaining). I speak several languages including chicken. In another life I teach physics, but mostly I just love to learn (anything!) and be outdoors. When not volunteering I like to watch the bears and photograph around Explore the Wild. Follow me on Twitter @ktraphagen

Owls in Towels (or Bird Burritos)

July 29th, 2011

One way that the Animal Keepers keep track of an animal’s health is to monitor its weight. So, how would you get a barred owl to sit still on a scale? Keeper Sarah demonstrates her method. Note: these photos are a composite showing the steps, but with different individuals of our 4 barred owls. Do you see any difference between the owls?

Animal Keeper Sarah carefully removes the barred owl from the exhibit by grasping its talons. She works carefully so the bird is not too stressed.

Sarah places the owl carefully, on its back, onto a clean towel (which we have already weighed).

Note how Sarah holds the owl to keep both the owl and herself safe.

Keeper Sarah carefully makes her first fold of the towel around the owl so that it cannot fly away or struggle.

Keeper Sarah finishes the "burrito wrap" around the owl.

With wings and talons safely folded inside the towel, Keeper Sarah can now place the owl on the scale.

Of course, not all our owls are as large as our barred owls. Keeper Marilyn shows how she weighs the much smaller Screech Owls!

Keeper Marilyn carefully places the Screech Owl in a plastic carrier.

Instead of a burrito, we have Owl-in-a-Box! But the goal is the same, to get an accurate weight of the owl.

How much do you think the barred owls weighed? The towel weighed 189 grams (about 7 ounces). We subtracted this from the total weight to get the true weight of each owl. The lightest was 705g (24.8 oz or about 1.5 lbs) and the heaviest was 1,188g (about 42 oz, or 2.6 lbs).

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by , Keeper
I graduated from NCSU(go pack) and have worked in the animal department for about 8 years. Some of my favorites include ferrets and birds. I am also known for my weird obsession with Boba Fett.
I work Tuesday-Saturday in either the Farmyard or inside the main building behind the scenes.

Happy Birthday!

March 31st, 2011

Normally, we do not post blogs for an animals birthday, there would be way too many entries and too many cakes to bake. However, this month is special for one of our Red Ruffed lemurs,Cynthia. This promsimian turns the big 3-0! That’s right, 30 years old! Another primate turning 30 around here is Keeper Kim. Normal lifespan for a lemur in captivity is early 20s.  Another older lemur we have is Lycus, who was born in 1985.

We have other animals which are older but we cant prove it because we do not have the birth records, we have an arrival date but not a birth date. Misha, the red tailed hawk arrived in 1993, we know he was at least 2 years old because he had lost his juvenile feathers. Two of our barred owls arrived in 1989 and were adults as well.These birds can live into their 30s. When it comes to snakes, we have a rattle snake that arrived in 1990 at the age of 8. We cant forget about our oldest bear  Ursula , who just turned 20 this year and some of the turtles we don’t even have an arrival date on.

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  1. Happy belated Birthday, Cynthia!

    Posted by Åsa
  2. how do you no when your red ear turtle is a boy or girl

    Posted by marla
  3. Hey there Marla!
    Let me answer this one for Jill if that’s okay. Once your turtles are a few inches long, look at their front fingernails. If you have a male, the claws will be super long, like Wolverine from X-Men :) If you have a girl, they will be shorter and normal ratio length. The male uses his long claws to attract the females during the mating season when they are a little bit older.
    You can also tell a little by ther length of the tails, with males having a longer tail than the females, but this a little harder to tell by unless you’re used to looking at alot of turtles. :) The claw method is the easiest way.
    Good luck with it and have a good one!

    Posted by Mikey

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by , Volunteer
I like volunteering to work with the animals and the Keepers (both are quite exciting and entertaining). I speak several languages including chicken. In another life I teach physics, but mostly I just love to learn (anything!) and be outdoors. When not volunteering I like to watch the bears and photograph around Explore the Wild. Follow me on Twitter @ktraphagen

Christopher goes to School

February 25th, 2011

Christopher, our barred owl that lives outside next to Max the Steer and Chummix the Goat in the Farmyard, recently took a field trip to a local school to visit some second graders. He had a great time. Sherry (the Animal Department Director) gave the students all kinds of interesting information about him (you can read more about barred owls here and here). The students were able to meet several of our eduction animals during a special animal program (I went along with Sherry and it was a great deal of fun!)

Afterward, the students drew some amazing pictures of their favorite animal to visit their classroom. We love this particular one (see below) because it actually tells a story of what happened during the visit. Christopher was being held by Sherry, but he got a little nervous when the students made some noise as they moved from sitting on the floor to their desks. So, instead of sitting quietly on her arm, he spread his wings and tried to fly away. Of course he couldn’t really fly away because Sherry was holding the leash and the little leather jesses that he wears around his legs.

Here is the picture showing Sherry holding Christopher as he tries to fly (note Sherry’s purple Museum of Life & Science shirt, her long hair, and smiling face). I’ve also included a video clip (in slow motion) that shows what it really looked like!

Christopher the Barred Owl visits Second Grade

YouTube Preview Image

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

Busy week for Veterinarians

June 11th, 2010

You already know Yona saw a bunch of Vets on Tuesday.  

Dr. Carter was here for monthly rounds this past Sunday.

And Dr. English was here yesterday. He checked on the eyes of ten Museum animals. ( All 5 barred owls, both screech owls, our red tail hawk, donkey, and spotted salamander.

Click above on “Dr. English” to read about him.

Dr. English checks Christopher the Barred Owl

Tech Rachel holds our new screech owl for a quick check.

Even salamanders get checked. This one has lipid deposits on its eyes and is almost blind.

Lightning has been having repeated eye issues. Dr. English thinks Lightning is doing it to himself?!?

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by , Keeper
I have been working at the museum since 2003, and I feel fortunate to have a job where I can start my day with amazing animals surrounding me. I enjoy camping, hiking and rock climbing in my spare time when the weather is nice.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and spend a lot of time behind the scenes, but you might find me at a public program or feeding the farmyard animals in the afternoon.

QuikPost: A new farmyard addition

April 12th, 2010

Christopher the barred owl has finally been moved to his new farmyard exhibit! He’s been behind the scenes while his new home was being built next to Max the steer and Chummix the goat. The enclosure turned out really nicely, and you can see on the far left where Christopher has a sheltered area to go along with all of the open sunny space, as well. Go say hello to Christopher on your next visit through the farmyard.

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by , Keeper
I have been working at the museum since 2003, and I feel fortunate to have a job where I can start my day with amazing animals surrounding me. I enjoy camping, hiking and rock climbing in my spare time when the weather is nice.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and spend a lot of time behind the scenes, but you might find me at a public program or feeding the farmyard animals in the afternoon.

Creating a different view, for visitors AND animals

December 23rd, 2008

We decided a while ago that it was time to change the perches and trees out of the barred owl exhibit. Seeing as how spare time is precious around here, it wasn’t until last week that Jill and I finally got around to setting our plan in motion. We already had a nice big perching tree ready to go in the exhibit, so last Tuesday we put the tree in while doing a superclean of the exhibit. We still have more old trees to take out and replace with new ones, but so far the change looks great and the owls can now perch away from the walls, which helps them to not damage their tail feathers.

Above is a picture of Jill taking out some of the old perches while I am cleaning the exhibit.
To the right is a picture of us trying to cut the tree in order to stand it up in the exhibit. The tree was originally so large that we had to cut one of the limbs off and then connect it back once it was in the exhibit… and it still barely fit in the doors!
And, finally, the new tree and perches are in! More changes will take place in a few weeks after the holidays.

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  1. The exhibit looks great…and I see the owls perching on all the new branches especially the ones near the window!!

    Posted by Katy

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by , Keeper
I am most famous here in the animal department for "expanding" the barred owl exhibit, clogging the wolf pool, and splitting my pants. My other less notorious work, since 2003, includes keeping, purchasing our animal supplies, coordinating our volunteers, and managing our animal enrichment program.
Find me training the lemurs or in other various animal enclosures Monday through Friday, or at the grocery store on Wednesdays, when I shop for produce!

Early AM Birding

November 30th, 2007

This morning I came in at 7:00 am and heard our barred owls (Strix varia) calling. We have 4 owls who live together. Their call is really neat; many birders describe it as sounding like “Who cooks for you, who cooks for you alllllllll” . Every once in a while I’ll hear them call during the day, but usually it’s in the early morning when I notice it. If you’d like to hear what they sound like, go to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website, and type in ‘barred owl’.

Then you can listen for them in your own backyard– I often hear wild ones communicating in the woods behind my house.

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  1. Not only do you hear the Barred owls in Carolina wildlife…you can also hear the Barred owls that live on grounds somewhere. So far I have only heard them in the evening around 530p.

    Posted by Katy
  2. Often times I hear Barred Owls when I am cleaning the farm yard in the morning, too. Visitors might be able to hear them when they pass through during the day.

    Posted by Marilyn
  3. it would be nice to try to note when you hear birds (owls or other) and share info with visitors during regularly scheduled programs

    Posted by Sherry

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by , Keeper
I have been working at the museum since 2003, and I feel fortunate to have a job where I can start my day with amazing animals surrounding me. I enjoy camping, hiking and rock climbing in my spare time when the weather is nice.
I work Tuesday through Saturday and spend a lot of time behind the scenes, but you might find me at a public program or feeding the farmyard animals in the afternoon.

A Glimpse at Barred Owl Veterinary Care

October 8th, 2007

At first glance, you may not be able to tell that the picture above is a Barred Owl wrapped up in a “towel burrito”, but take a good look and you can see her head sticking out of one side! You might also notice the small scale underneath the Owl, as she is actually being weighed. Wrapping large birds into towels is an easy and effective way of handling them so that they cannot flap their wings and injure themselves.

We weigh our Barred Owls every week, but the veterinary care for them does not stop at just measuring weights. Our Raptors must be coped once a month to help keep them healthy. Coping is a technique that is used to trim their beaks and talons. It is necessary for captive Raptors to be coped because they do not have access to the same variety of food and environments that would normally keep their beaks and talons filed down in the wild. If we did not cope their beaks, they would become overgrown and deformed, and make it difficult for them to eat.

A small dremel is used to file back their beaks and shape them properly. This is the equivalent of us filing our nails so there is no pain involved for the bird. The picture below shows the same Barred Owl getting its beak coped, which occurred right after it was weighed. We do veterinary procedures that are needed for our Barred Owls all at once to cut down on the amount of handling and potentially lessen stress on the bird. For the Keepers, this is just one of many cool and interesting tasks that is associated with our job!

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  1. Looks good. Do you think everyone will know what a Dremel is ?

    Posted by Larry
  2. Very interesting post. I had no idea that you all had to do this! This is EXACTLY the kind of stuff I think our members will love to learn about.I agree with Larry. Might just link to Dremel?T.

    Posted by Troy Livingston

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