Saturday, August 11, 2012

Barred Owl Release by the Letcher County 4-H Raptor Rehabilitation Program

The boys and I were ecstatic to watch three Barred Owls be released on Thursday afternoon from the Letcher County 4-H Raptor Rehabilitation Program at the Letcher County Extension Office. 

Mitch Whitaker is not only the Maintenance Supervisor at the Extension Office; he is also a  Master Falconer. My boys and I have had the chance to see the birds and speak with Mitch on multiple occasions. He is a wealth of knowledge and loves to share it with the kids. Bailey and Dalton think the world of him. 

We had a chance to see a screech owl and speak with Mitch for a few moments right before the release of the barred owls. 
 This little guy doesn't have a name yet, and even though he is still young, he is full grown.
 Contrary to belief, he can not turn his head all the way around, but it is close. Their eyes are fixed so they have to turn their heads to see. 
At the release Mitch and Jason pass on information about all the birds. 
This big guy is a horned owl. Though he is missing one of his horns. This was only the second time he had ever been up on someones hand and he wasn't thrilled about being there. 
 As soon as the boxes were opened, the owls were out of there light a streak of lightning.
 Good bye little ones, and good luck!
The Extension Office also had some FOREVER FRIENDS whom they have committed to feeding for life; for everyone to see. This is Dexter. He is a horned owl and is missing an entire wing which makes it hard for him to even stand. 
 This Red-tail Hawk is named Journey.
And last, but certainly not least is Popsicle the barred owl who is missing an eye.
Mitch says they say "Who, Who feeds you? Who, Who feeds you all?"

Although I haven't found a video of the owl release yet, here is a video of the releasing of the American Bald Eagle a while back. 
Learn more about owls in Kentucky at Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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