A Day in the Life...
Little Jasper was the first orphan to be brought to HawkTalk. He didn't have much of an appetite and you figure a baby owl with no appetite...could be why momma tossed him overboard. And because of that, I don't usually spend a lot of resources jump starting the poorly ones because there is usually something wrong with them. However, for some weird reason, I kept coaxing Jasper along, trying different foods and lo and behold, when I switched to skinned day old chicks, his appetite picked up!
Inasmuch as I whine about needing 'Mouse Money', I want them to have a voracious appetite...the more they eat, the more nutrients they consume and the better they grow.
Little Jasper started out life precariously
This stuffed bunny has comforted many an orphan around here...
I had to weigh his food and him every day for about a week to make sure we weren't going backwards.
I think he hurt himself when he fell. See how he favors his right side?
I was so happy the day I saw him perched on the side of his basket!
We love a good turn-around!
It wasn't long before the other orphans started arriving...
(does 'The Little Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe' come to mind?)
This was the itty bittiest one!
As each day progressed, we received more and more!
One of my FaceBook friends reminded me not to get them wet!
Finally topped off at 6 WHEW!
It's a LOT of work when they're this young. To say they are messy is an understatement
and I was skinning about 40 mice every 24 hours. Being a momma owl is hard work!
The food goes in one end and straight out the other!
Still too young to put outside yet...
I moved the perch up over their heads after this pic because they weren't ready to jump up.
Having them on AstroTurf made my job a lot easier where husbandry is concerned.
They ooch their butts over to the side and the poop either runs onto the edges or settles down
into the Astro Turf so they aren't standing in it. Not they they care, but I do!
Now in the big boy chamber, here is Jasper today 05/20/13!
My orphans are puppet-fed. They know me and trust me, but are not imprinted.
It's important for them not to be afraid of the provider, so they don't just fly away in fright after release.
Here is the 2013 bunch as of today May 20, 2013!
Jasper is the tallest of the 6, in the middle.
In another month, I will move the portable hack board outside and use it to prop the door open.
Then wait for the next phase of their adventure begins...
The natural world is a harsh mistress, but we give them the best start they could possible have.
Barred owls prey on aquatic vertebrates, so the idea is to get them down to the hack board at the pond, their natural habitat. Frogs, fishys...creepy crawlies...yum, yum!
Since momma and daddy aren't around to teach them survival skills,
my job is to raise them so they will hang around, learning the ropes on their own while
coming down to the hack board for food.
You wouldn't believe the number of rehabbers that just raise these young up to a certain age, then take them out and deposit them somewhere and congratulate themselves on a job well done. Can you guess how long it takes them all to starve to death with no post-release support nor parents to show them the ropes? Fostering is dandy, but no appreciable life skills are taught while in captivity.
Hacking orphaned raptors is like a golf swing. The job isn't done when you open the door; you're only half way there. Just like hitting the ball, the follow-through is important.
Some babes will disperse sooner than others. Some stay as last as October! I allow them to wean themselves from my help, however long it takes.
It's thirsty work becoming an owl!
If you could spare some Mouse Money, we sure would appreciate it. You wouldn't believe how far I can make 5 bucks go! If you are able to help us, please go over to www.hawktalk.org
Click on the 'donate' button and you will be taken over to an easy and secure PayPal site and
they will walk you through the process.
For those of you who are still hinky about sending money electronically, you can snail mail your donation:
P.O. Box 130
Holly Springs, GA
Thanks so much for your help!