This is Kele, a barred owl who I met today at the Wildbird Recovery Fall Migration Festival, a wonderful way to celebrate the first day of autumn. The facility rehabilitates and returns injured wild birds and provides refuge to the ones too injured to return to the wild, as well as a few other animals. In May I rescued a starling that had been clipped by a car on my street, and took it to this facility; in thanks for what they do I donated a print of a painting to this event.
There were may more than I could share here; the sky was bright one moment and completely overcast the next, making photographs of some animals prone to constant movement less than successful.
Below, Kele makes an emphatic point with his wings and tail, showing some of the bars that make up his species name. If you look closely you’ll see the top curve of her beak is a little off-center. He was found by a hiker on a nature trail and had apparently fallen from his nest at a very young age which caused the unfixable beak injury as well as a wing injury. Whether or not the bird is returned to the wild is not the decision of the rehabbers but of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture through an application by the rehab facility explaining the animal’s health issues. Both of Kele’s injuries prohibit him from flying or hunting in the wild, so he got a job at Wildbird Recovery as an education bird, as did a few others below.
Below are Aleron and Lucian, two screech owls apparently waiting for dusk and ignoring the humans. Note how much their feather patterns look like tree bark. When the screech owl took up residence in my maple tree in the front of my house, I heard him but could not find him until I got out the flashlight after a few nights of hearing the whinnying calls. Now we have conversations at night sometimes; he has taught me well how to imitate him.
The feathers in the disk around an owl’s eyes work as a funnel to direct the sound to the owl’s ears. Each species of owl has a different disk around the eyes.
Below is Orion, an American Kestrel, the smallest falcon in North America. They are predator and prey—when they fly in search of food on the ground, their underside feathers are blue, white and tan, which disguises them against the sky to any animal looking up at them, yet from the top they are tan and gray and brown so they are disguised from birds of prey.
I didn’t get to know everyone’s name. For a few other friends I met today, here is a handsome colt trying to charm me into unlocking the gate.
And here is a sweet donkey who probably thought I was digging in my bag for treats rather than for my camera.
And if there was ever a bird that looked as if it was put together from the spare parts of other birds, it is the Muscovy Duck, domesticated for centuries from wild ducks and raised for meat. They rarely escape, but are sometimes kept as pets and abandoned.
You can read more about Wildbird Recovery, other education birds and their programs on their website.
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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.