Just back from a week in Southeastern Oregon where I had the chance to watch some amazing birds of prey including this little burrowing owl which was perched on a fence line south of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Malheur is one of the crown jewels of the National Wildlife Refuge System but it is plague with infestations of invasive plants and animals that have significantly reduced its value for wildlife--most notably carp which have severely reduced waterfowl production by destroying aquatic vegetation on which the waterfowl feed, and pepper weed which has taken over much of the upland landscape. Audubon is participating in efforts to address these issues. The refuge is still an amazing place to visit.
K2 continues to adapt to life in captivity. Unlike most red-tails we get into our rehab center which each whatever we put in front of them, K2 actually had to be force fed for awhile. He rejected rats, mice and pigeons presented to him in a cage even though they were the same species he was eating in the wild. For awhile we were wondering if he might have neurological damage in addition to his eye injury. However has now started to self-feed and seems more lively as well. Perhaps he was just depressed---can't blame him.
We are now startling to train him to be an educational bird. Our focus is really on simple things--perching on a glove, being comfortable in front of people, flight training so he can get exercise, the ability to travel in a carrier....we stay away completely from gimmicks and try to protect the inherent dignity of the bird. The goal is to allow him to be comfortable in captivity and to serve as an ambassador for his species. We have some good leads on some facilities for permanent placement.
For those of you who are tracking the ban the bag efforts, today's rally at City Hall was outstanding---great testimony and a great turnout. Seemed very well received by City Council and particularly the Mayor. See KGW Story on Rally. The following are a couple of pictures from the rally--complete with "bag monsters!"