It's with sadness that we announce the passing of our Eastern Screech OWL.
Here's her story:
The gray morph Eastern Screech Owl that lived at Quarry Hill was found injured in a Richfield, MN residential area in August of 2006 and brought to The Raptor Center on the U of M campus. Her wing patterns suggesed she may have hatched in 2005. Her weight led us to believe she was female. (Since males and females look the same, a higher weight can sometimes indicate a female bird.) Raptor Center employees determined the owl had a fractured radius and ulna of the left wing due to “unknown trauma”. While they were able to stabilize the wing bones, there was still too much damage to allow for any flight, making her a non-releasable bird. She was placed under the care of staff at Quarry Hill Nature Center in the fall of 2006.
Because she could not fly, the owl's new home at Quarry Hill included a special ramp built in her mew to allow for movement via hops to get to and from her hiding box. Eastern Screech Owls are nocturnal and typically spend much of their day roosting and hiding. Visitors could often see her through the 'port hole' of her hiding box. When she was not 'hiding', she spent many hours patiently assisting with educational programs for hundreds of nature center visitors. She showed off her camouflage while patiently being photographed by summer nature camp photography students and starred in the opening act of our Creatures of the Night Event each fall (see photos at right).
On March 30, we were saddened to say good-bye to this Eastern Screech Owl. A recent leg injury led to damaged tendons in her right foot. As a non-flighted bird, the risk of injury can be heightened due to the nature of hopping versus flying as a primary mode of getting around. After receiving care and evaluation at The University of Minnesota Raptor Center it was determined that she had lost and would not regain proper function in her foot. The Raptor Center recommended and performed euthanasia.
We are grateful for all the educational assistance she provided through the years. When a wildlife rehabilitation center has another owl in need of a home, we will welcome a new resident to Quarry Hill Nature Center. This Eastern Screech Owl, part of the Quarry Hill team for the past 8 plus years, will be missed!