Great Horned Owl Release

mamabird-release

Mama bird takes off. Photograph by Dudley Warner.

Here is a link to follow-up story written by the Potomac Almanac about Mama bird‘s release.

connectionarchives.com/PDF/2014/012214/Potomac.pdf

Owl Moon is Featured in the Washington Kids Post

Pepe le Pew

Pepe le Pew

Good Morning! This story about our streak of Eastern Screech-owls came out in the Washington Post Kids Post online today. Look for it in print tomorrow in the Sunday Post. It includes some cute pics of the little guys! Read the story here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/kidspost/caring-for-feathered-friends/2014/01/09/faa5efd8-7668-11e3-af7f-13bf0e9965f6_story.html

Raptor Talk at Meadowside Nature Center

Sir Galahad. Photograph by Suzanne Shoemaker.

Sir Galahad. Photograph by Suzanne Shoemaker.

You are invited to a free raptor talk at Meadowside Nature Center! I will share stories about wildlife rehabilitation and my work with birds of prey. Two of my former patients, Duke (formerly known as “Sir Galahad”) and Sterling, will be there too! You can read Duke’s story here.

Light refreshments will be provided. This event is free and open to the public, but space is limited so please go to the event page or call 301-258-4034 to register. I’d love to see you there!

Wednesday, January 15, 6:45-8:30pm
Nature Matters: Rehabbing Raptors at Owl Moon Raptor Center
5100 Meadowside Lane, Rockville, MD 20855

Master Wildlife Rehabilitator Suzanne Shoemaker shares her experiences and stories from working with raptors at the Owl Moon Raptor Center (OMRC), in Boyds, MD.  Suzanne is the founder and operator of OMRC and an expert on animal behavior, animal adaptations, and ecology. Two of Meadowside’s birds will be present at the lecture — both rehabilitated by Suzanne! Free. Ages 14 and up. Call 301-258-4034 to register. Light refreshments provided.

Happy Owlidays from Owl Moon!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Owl Moon! It was a quiet and peaceful holiday for us, filled with family, food, and five new Eastern Screech Owl patients. More about them shortly, but first I want to thank everyone who donated during our winter fundraiser. We have raised over $2500 to support the care of local birds of prey. I am so grateful to all of you, and I am sure the birds would be too if they understood how important it is for them. If you have not yet contributed but would like to, there are still a few calendars left. Please take the time to donate $25 now, and we will gladly send you a calendar (5 calendars for donations of $100!). The birds and I thank you.

IMG_4905

Eggnog Peers out from under a towel.

This holiday we were able to give two birds the gift of a new start. I released “Egg Nog” the Barred Owl at dusk on Christmas Eve back in her home town of Potomac, MD. She and I were returning from Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, where I had transferred her a week earlier for live prey testing. Egg Nog had recovered from head and eye trauma. Arturo had found her on November 21st along Falls Road in Potomac, MD, where she probably had an accident with a car. Fortunately, she regained vision in both eyes. Though her vision will never be quite as good as it was, she proved that she was capable of catching live prey. I was alone as I watched her fly off into winter woods.

christmas_release

Suzanne holds Nutmeg just prior to her release.

We released “Nutmeg” (pictured above) here at Owl Moon on Christmas morning. Ray found Nutmeg on November 8th in Thurmont, MD. Frederick County Animal Control transferred her to Owl Moon on November 10th. We treated her for a long laceration along her back left shoulder. Like Egg Nog, she had probably been hit by a car. On the day of her release she was feisty and ready to go. The family and I took a break from the holiday festivities to bid her farewell.  Nutmeg took off toward the forest and did not look back. 

December has been the month of the Screech Owls. We currently have five red-phase Eastern Screech Owls: “Dora,” “Nora,” “Angora”, “Diego,” and “Pepe le Pew” (he has the perfume of a skunk!) All are victims of car accidents. Diego and Pepe have head and eye trauma. Both will probably will lose sight in one eye. However, they may still be released if they, like Egg Nog, can show they are capable of catching live prey. Dora and Nora have wing injuries. Dora’s is a fractured right humerus. The bone was surgically repaired by Dr. Erica Miller at TriState Bird Rescue and Research Center on Christmas Eve. We are grateful to Dr. Miller for taking holiday time to help this bird. We are optimistic for a full recovery. Nora has a soft tissue injury in her left shoulder. If the injury does not involve nerve damage, we can hope for her full recovery, as well. We’ll know better in the next couple of weeks. Angora is the latest arriving on December 29th with head trauma. She is lucky that her eyes were spared serious damage, but too look at her you know she has a whopping headache. Her prognosis is good and we hope our medicine will make her feel better soon!

Thank you to everyone who has helped Owl Moon this year. We wish everyone a peaceful, healthy, and happy 2014!

-Suzanne Shoemaker

Zen’s Anniversary Gift: Freedom!

Today Owl Moon is celebrating the one year anniversary of the arrival of “Zen,” the Barred Owl featured on the February page of the 2013 Owl Moon Raptor Center calendar. Zen was hit by a car on the I-70 off-ramp in Mount Airy, MD on February 27, 2012. Wes rescued him on his way to work and transported him to Owl Moon. Today we are celebrating because on Monday, just two days before his anniversary, Zen returned home. He is finally flying free again!

Zen soon after he was admitted to Owl Moon Raptor Center. Photograph by Suzanne Shoemaker.

Zen’s rehabilitation was prolonged and for much of that time we were guarded on his prognosis for a return to the wild. His left elbow was fractured, and the resulting callus reduced range of motion in that joint. We began physical therapy early, and continued even after it appeared that his flight was impaired and release was unlikely. In hindsight, we could not give him a fair flight assessment due to feather damage. Convinced that Zen was not a release candidate, we found him a permanent home as an education ambassador at Meadowside Nature Center in Rockville, MD. Before he could be placed however, Zen went through a molt which replaced his damaged feathers. With time, Zen’s flight improved. We continued to exercise and recondition him. By November his flight had improved so much that we were convinced he could survive the rigors of life in the wild.

While we love nothing more than returning the birds to the wild, it is still a bittersweet moment. When we work with a bird as long as we have Zen. We can’t help but get to know them as individuals, and grow attached. Zen is a boisterous, irrepressible soul. He served as a foster dad for “Little Bear,” an orphaned fledgling Barred owl, and a lively companion for “Lucy”, a female Barred Owl also a victim of a car collision. He was fun to work with and we will miss him. It can be difficult to trust nature to take care of those we’ve grown to love, but because of his indomitable spirit, we know Zen is where he needs to be. We wish him a full and satisfying life, and hope he will raise lots of little Zens.

Zen (right) served as a foster dad for Little Bear. Photo by Suzanne Shoemaker

Monday was a beautiful day here, made even more beautiful by witness of Zen’s release. Fortunately, my daughter Natasha was present. Using a video camera borrowed from her friend, David (thank you!), she was able to capture the happy occasion to share with all of you. Enjoy!

You did it!

Henry the Eastern Screech-owl enjoys a scratch behind the ear-tufts. Photograph by Liz Falvo.

Henry the Eastern Screech-owl enjoys a scratch behind the ear-tufts. Photograph by Liz Falvo.

Thank you to everyone who supported Owl Moon this holiday season! With your donations, we topped our fundraising goal of $2000 dollars! I am proud to report that Owl Moon Raptor Center is starting 2013 in our strongest position ever. Your support will provide medicine and supplies to help dozens of sick, injured, and orphaned birds of prey in the coming year. We are glad to have you alongside us as we continue our mission into the new year.

Happy New Year, and THANK YOU!

- Suzanne Shoemaker

Owl Moon is a family effort. Suzanne and her husband Jan return from a session of creance flying. Photograph by Natasha Lewandrowski.

Owl Moon is a family effort. Suzanne and her husband Jan return from a session of creance flying. Photograph by Natasha Lewandrowski.

The Calendars have Arrived!

A sneak peak from the 2013 Owl Moon calendar!

A sneak peak from the 2013 Owl Moon calendar!

The 2013 Owl Moon Raptor Center calendars have arrived and they look even better than last year!

Our goal is to raise $2000 by December 31st!

Every year, Owl Moon responds to hundreds of cases throughout Maryland, and into Virginia and Pennsylvania, which involve:

  • Rehabilitating injured raptors
  • Re-nesting young raptors
  • Rescuing trapped wildlife
  • Assisting other organizations with oil-spill response

We rely exclusively on donations to cover our operating costs, including medical supplies, equipment, and transportation.

Donate $25 dollars or more, and you will receive a gorgeous 2013 calendar* (five for $100) as our way of thanking you for your support.

*while supplies last

The calendar features twelve heartwarming stories about Owl Moon patients, together with twenty four evocative full-color photographs, and a Raptor Calendar: the courtship, nesting, and migration dates for raptors native to the mid-Atlantic region.

Please contribute through our Donate page and support local birds of prey!

The Definition of Cute!

IMG_2053

Northern Saw-whet Owl. Photograph by Suzanne Shoemaker.

This Northern Saw-whet Owl was admitted briefly yesterday to Owl Moon Raptor Center for flight testing and release. It came from my friend Judy Holzman at All Creatures Great and Small, a wildlife rehab center in Columbia, MD, where it recovered from a soft tissue injury to its left wing. It flew well, and was released at Lamb’s Knoll on South Mountain in Middletown, MD. Lamb’s Knoll is prime Saw-whet Owl habitat and the location of a banding station where a long term study of Saw-whet Owls is underway. The study is called Project OwlNet.

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Northern Saw-whet Owl. Photograph by Suzanne Shoemaker.

Owl Moon Raptor Center is Featured in the Gazette!

Check out this wonderful article about Owl Moon which was just featured in the Gazette! Thank you to St. John Barnard-Smith for the write-up!

Patient Updates: October 29, 2012

Goalie
Red-shouldered Hawk
Male

Cinnamon
Red-shouldered Hawk
Male, Juvenile

Friday was a busy day! In the morning Lee and I, together with our guests Cynthia and her daughter Orli, released the two Red-shouldered Hawks, Goalie and Cinnamon. Both hawks were returned to where they were found. Goalie, the adult, went first. We found a nice stretch of woodland next to a creek and pond behind Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, MD. Lee opened the box while I took the video shown below on my phone. Goalie wasted no time in getting through the trees and out of site.  We caught another quick glimpse of him as we headed back to our cars, and then he was gone.

Cinnamon was released in the neighborhood in Chevy Chase, MD where he was found. John and his wife Joyanna were there, along with several of their neighbors who participated in Cinnamon’s rescue, including Kathy and Steve. I took Cinnamon out of the box so I could remove a protective “wrist bumper” from his wing prior to release. That gave everyone a close-up view of this beautiful juvenile hawk. Then it was time to send him on his way. Cinnamon didn’t linger. He soared high up to a tree limb in the parkland that backs up to the homes. He surveyed his surroundings briefly, then flew out of sight.

This video shows Cinnamon flying on the creance line. I could tell from his strong flight that he was ready to go.

Pumpkin. Photograph by Suzanne Shoemaker.

New Patient!

Pumpkin
Barred Owl
Male, Juvenile

After I returned home Friday afternoon, I received a visit from Sarah Milbourne. Sarah manages the Scales and Tails Program for MD Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Scales and Tails is an educational outreach program that uses live birds to teach the public about raptors and their place in the ecosystem.

DNR had rescued a juvenile male Barred Owl from entanglement in fishing line at Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland. Fortunately, the owl had not been injured, but the monofiliment line had damaged many of his feathers. Sarah wanted to learn how to repair the owl’s damaged feathers using a technique called “imping”. Imping involves trimming back the damaged feathers and replacing them by inserting a pin between the shaft of the original feather and that of a replacement feather.

We began the imping process on Pumpkin, named in celebration of the season, but it will require more than one sitting to repair all his damaged feathers. Pumpkin will reside at Owl Moon until Sarah and I finish imping. When we are sure Pumpkin’s feathers are healthy, he will return to his home at Deep Creek Lake.

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