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Names and Bling for the Owlets


Fri, May 10th, 2013
Posted in Rushford Agriculture

By Karla Bloem

Houston, Minn. -- The three owlets hatched in March as part of the International Owl Center’s Great Horned Owl breeding project now have names as well as bands.

As a condition of the state and federal permits required for the project, the owlets needed bling: numbered yellow zip-tie bands issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The owlets were removed from their aviary and the bands were placed on the owlets’ ankles (girls on the right, boy on the left) last week.

The DNA gender testing of the owlets revealed the oldest to be a girl, the middle to be a boy, and the baby of the family was also a girl. A naming contest was held to solicit names for the rapidly growing owlets, with a goal to have names that reflect gender as well as other individual traits.

Karla Bloem, the authority on Great Horned Owl vocalizations conducting the breeding project as part of her vocal research, selected the names for the owlets from over 100 sets of names submitted from around the country and globe.

The youngest owlet was named Patience, a name suggested by several since she always waits patiently to eat after the oldest owlets are fed. She also seems to have no ambition to leave the nest. The older two are already flying from perch to perch throughout the 1,000 square foot aviary, but Patience has yet to even venture out onto a branch immediately next to the nest platform.

The middle owlet was named Patrick since he was hatched on St. Patrick’s Day. Although the middle child, he was the first to spread his wings and fly to other perches in the enclosure.

Pandora was selected as the name for the oldest owlet. She jumped off the nest platform to the floor when the owlets were removed for banding, and she can be bossy with her siblings. When Patrick was first starting to fly, he would land on the Astroturf-covered ramp to climb back up to the nest. Pandora would sit at the top of the ramp and refuse to let him pass.

Once the young leave the nest, most online cams have to shut down. The live streaming video of this family will offer the public a rare glimpse into life of owlets after fledging as they will remain in captivity until they have developed their territorial hoots.

For more information, to watch the live streaming video, or to make a tax-deductible contribution to this project go to www.internationalowlcenter.org.

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