Thursday, May 9, 2013

Guardian

When humans invade nature by constructing buildings, playgrounds, etc, we inevitably change the habitat for the wildlife living in the area.  On a previous post, I wrote about my surveys at my work site.  Over the past years, we've had a pair of Great Horned Owls nest on our building.  We'd watch them as they nested inside a very high ledge. The owlets would fall to their deaths as they began to try and branch out.  Last year, we had a licensed rehabilitation center take them away, but for me, it was a terrible idea.  Yes we "saved" them, but at what price?  So this year we tried something different.  I recommended we keep the owlets on campus and have them placed in our Ironwood trees so that they could develop in their natural environment.  Several of the teachers had friends who did owl rescue and came to relocate the owls from the dangerously high ledge into the more secure Ironwood trees below.  The team  had the nest located near a teacher's window so that they could keep an eye on the 3 owlets.  The Principal of the school was open to this idea and spoke to the 2000 students over the intercom about helping these owlets out.  Today, 2 of the 3 owlets are out and about hanging out in the trees.....naturally!UPDATE.  All 3 owlets have successfully left the nest as of this AM!(10/5/13)  Mom and Dad are with them, but Mom has been occupied with the 3rd owlet who is much weaker than the rest.  This is normal with nesting Great Horned Owls.  Usually one or two of the strongest will survive the nest.  A laundry basket was placed into the tree and the parent owls quickly watched over their owlets. We are happy to report today that the intervention helped!  Students are excited and respectful of the owls (and also learning a lot about them!)  Owls learn to develop their eyes and legs first before learning how to fly.  
While on my survey, I noticed a pair of Pyrrhuloxias feeding near our wash.  It was a real thrill to see in person.  I heard lots of noises and found the babies quickly.
One of the jobs of our school is to watch over the wash and protect it.  Most people walk past the area and don't pay attention to all the activity happening inside and along the wash.
Tomorrow, I'll be doing another count as I walk the grounds.  There is always so much to see and it's exciting to watch Mother Nature adapt to public areas. 
I find a private place and do my reports.  I take one hour to walk the one mile perimeter of our school and count our birds.  In the process, students are educated as are other instructors on campus.  Awareness and education are key components.  If we are going to try and keep this planet a better place, we need to be aware of our actions.  And it's exciting to watch people get excited about a little bird. 
I am thankful for a wonderful administration and great group of teachers who want to make that difference.  Here my love of birds and Spanish are blending in perfectly. 
This constant evolution of age makes me smile.  I am more than one label and it's great to watch all of it come together as one.  And who doesn't love owls??:)  Maybe these owls will spark an interest for our younger generations.......



16 comments:

  1. such a great watchful look! glad your students are interested.

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  2. That's and incredible story. You already know I love owls. It is wonderful that this group of students gets a first hand look at how to protect and respect these marvelous creatures.l

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  3. So glad everyone is interested and the owls are doing well and also how thrilling to see the baby pyrrhuloxias being fed by their parents!

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  4. Great story, Chris! I am glad the owlets are safe in their new spot. And it is very cool seeing the Pyrrhuloxias feeding, very cute shot. They would be a new bird for me. It also great that the students are interesting in the birds, they could be future birders. Great post and photos! Happy Birding!

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  5. This sounds like such a better idea for the owls. Great to hear the students are really interested in them too.

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  6. It's good to read a feel good post, I love owls too they are lovely, glad to see everything worked out for them. Have a great weekend.

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  7. Glad to read of a great success story. Nice work and thanks for reporting on the outcome.

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  8. Hello, Friend of Mine! What perfect timing for me to visit and hear about all the wonderful things happening in your world. You are a special human being.

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  9. What a great project. And greater success story. Each one makes a difference on an ongoing problem.

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  10. Hi Nancy!!! Love that you stopped by!!:) What a wonderful surprise!

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  11. Nature's teachable moments.

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  12. Brilliant pictures of the Owlet, and the others.

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  13. That really is wonderful news about the Owls. Well done Chris on helping to a achieve such a great outcome :)

    A great way too to teach the younger generation about wildlife :) Glad to read you can fit some birding into your working day too :)

    Great post and photos :)

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  14. The owl shots are fantastic Chris, very dramatic! My daughter Aimee is very enamoured with owls..your project at the school is going well, I really do think youngsters enjoy learning about nature and the great outdoors :)

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  15. The owls have added an extra level of education to your school's curriculum. Fantastic, really. The kids are learning about nature and will likely become much more responsible adults...at least where the environment is concerned. Well, we can hope, can't we? :)

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  16. Exciting, beautiful, WONDERFUL post! I am so happy for the owlettes and for your students! And the pyrox---(I can never spell their name) adults and baby...so great! Loved the photos!

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