Raptor Center holding ‘Whoo Loves You?’ Valentine auction to name rescued screech owl

The Southeastern Raptor Center at Auburn University is holding a ‘Whoo Loves You’ Valentine auction for the opportunity to name a rescued Eastern screech owl. The auction is open through Feb. 13.AUBURN UNIVERSITY – The Southeastern Raptor Center asks, “Whoo Loves You?” by offering a unique Valentine gift package for auction.

In addition to the opportunity to name its newest resident, an Eastern screech owl, the Valentine’s Day gift package will include a private tour of the education center to meet raptor center residents including Nova, Spirit and Tiger along with a photo and certificate.

The auction is open now and will close Feb. 13. To bid, go to http://www.onlineauction.com/auction/1865544.

The owl available for naming is an adult screech owl of unknown gender found last November near the side of a road in Thomaston, Ala. Veterinarians said they believe it was struck by a vehicle.

“This will be the first time we have offered the public the ability to name one of our residents,” said Eva Mathews, a technician at the Southeastern Raptor Center. “It’s special to tour the Southeastern Raptor Center, see the all the birds housed here and learn about our mission,” Mathews said. “It’s a neat date, and they get to name the owl.”

Mathews said the money raised through the auction will support the center’s rehabilitation mission by supporting animal care and treatment.

The owl was found bleeding slightly from the ear and suffered an injury which caused the owl’s eye to lose pressure and deflate; it was brought to the Southeastern Raptor Center for treatment.

Dr. Jamie Bellah, professor and head of the Department of Clinical Sciences at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and director of the Southeastern Raptor Center, performed surgery on the bird. Bellah said he had to remove its eye to relieve the owl of pain. “Obviously, we cannot release it after that, but we can keep him as a foster owl,” Bellah said.

Mathews said foster birds play an important role at the center. The bird will remain as wild as possible in captivity and this will allow it to teach orphaned birds how to survive. “When we have orphans, the owl can help raise them,” Mathews said. “It’s an important job no human can do as well as a bird.”

The Southeastern Raptor Center at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine has a threefold mission of rehabilitation, education and conservation. Each year more than 300 injured birds of prey are brought to the center for rehabilitation.

(Written by Ben Hohenstatt.)

Contact: Janet Mccoy, College of Veterinary Medicine, (334) 844-3698 (mccoyjl@auburn.edu), or Mike Clardy, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)