AUBURN UNIVERSITY– The Southeastern Raptor Center at Auburn University will release a Barn Owl, two or more Barred Owls and an Eastern Screech-Owl Friday, Feb. 22, at 5 p.m. at the Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve at 2222 N. College St. in Auburn.
The Eastern Screech-Owl is a small owl about six inches tall that inhabits the eastern portion of the United States and prefers wooded areas for its habitat. It has three morphs, or colors, of plumage: gray, brown and red. It eats nocturnal insects but will also take on small mammals and birds.
The Barn Owl is a medium-sized owl with a short tail and rounded wings and can be found everywhere except Antarctica. Barns, tree cavities and abandoned buildings are its preferred habitat. Its diet consists mainly of rodents.
The Barred Owl is a large owl with a rounded head and tail and is found in the eastern portion of the United States and the west coast of California. It prefers a habitat of mature forests near water. Although its diet consists mainly of mammals, it is an opportunistic feeder.
“All the owls presented for wing or eye trauma except for one barn owl that presented as a fledgling with a broken leg,” said Liz Crandall, a raptor rehabilitation specialist with the Southeastern Raptor Center, part of the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.
A mission of the Southeastern Raptor Center is to rehabilitate injured, ill or orphaned birds of prey. Annually the center takes in between 200 and 275 birds of prey from across the Southeast and has treated and released thousands of birds back into the wild. The education unit has provided educational programs for thousands of schools, civic groups and churches in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky. For more information about the Southeastern Raptor Center, go to http://www.vetmed.auburn.edu/raptor.