WHO are they? the Owls of TCWC

This is Artie. He is a Great-horned Owl who lives at Treasure Coast Wildlife Center. He’s one of the educational birds traveling to schools and events in the area or being featured on tours of the center.

I took the photos for a “Superb Owl” contest and fundraiser promoted on Facebook. It ran the week before Super Bowl Sunday and the winner was announced that day.

Here is a side view of Artie. And yes he always looks this fierce, however he is actually feeling inside.

He was hit by a car and has an injury to his right wing that makes him unable to fly, so he cannot be returned to the wild. Brake for owls, people!

He was the first owl I handled at TCWC, as we volunteers and the rehabbers bring the birds from the mews to the display area (weathering yard) daily. I was a bit clumsy with him because I was a bit afraid of him, and I get the feeling he doesn’t really like me that much. I hope he changes his mind as I improve my owl-handling skills!

Dusk is a blind Barn Owl who is still very good at flying around his enclosure in the display area. He is utterly silent in flight, with special feathers adapted for that sneakiness. You wouldn’t want to be a mouse wandering around in his enclosure at night.

Luna is a male Barred Owl who is partially blind but can fly, so he is a little tricky to catch in the mews. He likes to have his head scratched and that is one of the tricks to keep him from flying off while I (hopefully) quickly and skillfully clip onto his jesses.

I did feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment after I patiently stalked and gently caught him the first time. In the mews the birds have their own solo enclosures and are “free to move about the cabin”! In the weathering yard they are clipped to their perches for their own and each others’ safety.

Leela is also a Barred Owl, partially blind, and Luna is her boyfriend. When he gets carried out to the weathering yard, she is usually there first and she hoots and hoots! They get perched near each other.

The Barred Owl’s hooting call, “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?” is a classic sound of old forests and treed swamps. But this attractive owl, with soulful brown eyes and brown-and-white-striped plumage, can also pass completely unnoticed as it flies noiselessly through the dense canopy or snoozes on a tree limb.

Leela is also flighted and a couple of the rehabbers are very skilled at catching her in mid-air. I admire them!

Olga is a gorgeous queen. She’s a Great Horned Owl and the largest owl at TCWC.

GHOs are the largest owl in Florida and female raptors are usually about a third larger than the males. She’s got a fractured right wing.

TCWC hosts children’s birthday party and the party boy or girl gets to choose a bird to come out and meet the guests. Olga is a frequent and impressive choice!

Beautiful feather pattern. And check out those talons! When you go to pick her up, she hisses and bites the leather falconer’s glove once, then allows you clip her and slide the glove under her from behind to step up on.

In general, owls step backwards on and off the glove and hawks and others step forward onto the glove. I do not know why!


Ruby is an Eastern Screech Owl, the smallest breed of owl in Florida. Her coloring is “red morph” rather than gray morph. She has a wing injury and gets perched out in the mini-mews.

If a mysterious trill catches your attention in the night, bear in mind the spooky sound may come from an owl no bigger than a pint glass.

Kali is also an Eastern Screech Owl and she was the WINNER of the Superb Owl contest, with the most points. One donated dollar equaled one point.

She is a lovely petite red morph. About one-third of Screech Owls are red like her. She is missing an eye. When I pick her up, it’s like picking up a feather! I cannot feel her weight at all.

I found an owl

This owl is not feeling well.

I found it on the grass in a busy park yesterday, at the end of a long, slow walk with my 14-week-old puppy Ruby. It was on its side like this, eyes closed. I bent close and it seemed to be alive so I scooped it up gently – it was so soft – and placed it in the nearest tree.

A quick iPhone photo… looks like the strangest Easter basket.

At home, I posted the photo on the Facebook group What’s This Bird? with these words…

Yes, it’s an Eastern Screech Owl. Initial comments agreed to leave it there, then there were some questions about whether it might be sick since it was on its side. I went back later, found it was gone and called Treasure Coast Wildlife Center to see if someone else brought it in. Yes, they did. The woman on the phone said the owl was sick, they didn’t yet know with what sickness, and they would do their best.

I posted the update on the facebook group. Tremendous interest and engagement… my post garnered 221 likes or loves so far, 33 comments, 5 shares. All these humans from near and far, gathered around the unwell owl, concerned and trying to be of help.

Be well, little owl.