Sunday, March 2, 2008

Owl You Need To Know About Owls (in a convenient list)




Actually, it should be titled:


12 Things YOU Can Do To Help Owls


1. Don't waste paper. Recycle paper when you are done with it, and buy recycled paper. When forests are cut to make paper, it hurts the birds that require older forest growth. Another way you can save paper is to stop getting junk mail. www.obviously.com/junkmail has information about simple things you can do to get less junk mail.


2. Keep your cat indoors. House cats occasionally kill or injure small owls, but the bigger problem is that they kill a lot of owl food(mice and voles.) This makes it harder for owls, especially smaller species, to survive where there are a lot of cats. Keep in mind that it's healthier for your cat to stay indoors for a number of reasons, but one of those is that Great Horned Owls are known to eat cats! For more information, visit www.abcbirds.org/abcprograms/cats


3. Don't let your dog chase birds. When an owl kills a large prey animal, it sometimes spends several minutes on the ground eating. During this time, it can easily be killed or badly injured by a dog. Young owls just learning to fly are especially vulnerable to dogs.


4. Support an owl rehabilitation/research/education center near you. Some of these facilities give you the option of "adopting" an owl. Your adoption fee goes to help an individual owl, and in return you get a certificate and the satisfaction of knowing you helped make a difference in the life of an owl.


5. Don't even think about having an owl for a pet. Owls are protected by law, so it's illegal to keep them in captivity in the U.S. without a license. But at least as important, owls are wild, natural beings requiring a wild, natural life.


6. Consider becoming an owl researcher. There is so much that isn't known about owls yet, especially owls in tropical regions. For some species, virtually nothing is known even about their basic biology. Science doesn't have all the answers, but we need interested and dedicated individuals to help find the answers.


7. Don't pick up young owls on the ground unless you know that they are sick, injured or BOTH parents have been killed. Fledgling owls normally spend a week or more on the ground before they can fly. At this stage they have fully developed wing feather and short tails, but the rest of their body id still fuzzy. Their parents are usually somewhere nearby taking care of them. If an owl does need help, contact a local wildlife rehabilitator immediately. Do NOT FEED IT!


8. Remove any unused barbed wire on your property. All too often owls get hung up in barbed wire. They either die a lingering death, are killed by another animal, or, if rescued, often need to be euthanized due to the extent of their injuries.


9. Avoid using poisons and pesticides. These in effect wind up poisoning your local owl food supply. Some owls eat mice, some eat rats, some eat insects... and dying animals will always be easier to catch than healthy prey. Even if you don't poison these species directly, pesticides are still likely to work their way into the food chain.


10. Leave dead trees standing when they aren't dangerous. Dead trees make wonderful nesting and roosting sites for many species of owls (as well as other critters.)


11. Put up owl nest boxes (or make artificial burrows) if you're in the right location. The type of nesting structure and location are very important choices to make. Visit http://owlpage.com/owlboxes.html to find out more about providing owl housing.


12. Habitat, habitat, habitat! If you own land, consider the needs of the owls who might be living there. Consider a permanent conservation easement to protect the land after you're gone. If you don't own land, support organizations that support habitat conservation.


I want to thank my beautiful wife, Jenni, for providing me with today's list. She brought it back from the International Owl Festival in Houston, Minnesota... I am sure that she will be posting some good stuff over there, if not I will. :)
Who knew Owl ran in the family...


Happy list, day 2!!