Merlin - Barred Owl
Merlin was brought to Audubon’s Center for Birds of Prey in 1984 as a juvenile. While a very young bird, he had spent several weeks (illegally) with humans, and as a result he became imprinted on humans. Birds which imprint on humans rather than their own species have no hunting or other survival skills. Center staff placed Merlin with the permanent resident barred owls for foster care with the goal of releasing him to the wild. Unfortunately, the other owls realized that Merlin was “different”and attacked him, leading to the loss of one eye. If the staff had been told the truth about his prolonged exposure to humans, he would have been kept as an imprint but not housed with the other owls. Stories like Merlin’s are of vital importance, educating peopleof the harm ultimately caused when wild birds are kept in captivity.
Bogie - Great Horned Owl
Bogie was admitted to the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in the winter of 1992 with a fractured wing. He had fallen from his nest, located on a local golf course, as a very young owlet. Bogie’s wing did not heal properly and it was determined that he was non-releasable. He was gloved-trained and makes appearances at educational functions as an Audubon Ambassador. Great Horned Owls are the largest of the Florida owls, and the most aggressive of all the raptors. They nest in the winter, often stealing nests from bald eagles!
Gopher - Burrowing Owl
Gopher was brought to us from Kenansville in Osceola County, Florida in 2015. He had multiple fractures in his right wing. His injuries were possibly caused by entanglement with a barbed wire fence located close to his burrow. His name "Gopher" reminds us that burrowing owls burrow in the ground, much like gopher tortoises, which are a threatened species in Florida
Tony - Eastern Screech-Owl
Tony, a brown-phase Eastern Screech Owl, was rescued after he fell from his nest in May of 2002. He had severe trauma to his left eye. After several weeks of treatment, it was determined that he would never regain the use of the eye, and it was surgically closed. Since owls depend on their eyesight as well as their sense of hearing to hunt for food, Tony would not be able to survive in the wild. He was deemed non-releasable and became a permanent resident of the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey. Tony has become an Audubon Ambassador and participates in educational programs raising public awareness about the importance of saving raptors and their habitat. Screech Owls are generally nocturnal and normally spend most of the day roosting in hollow trees. These owls will use man-made nest boxes when natural nesting sites are unavailable.
Carrie - Eastern Screech Owl
Carrie was found in Jacksonville in the spring of 2008. She has a unique genetic defect causing a malformation of her feathers and talons. As a result of her malformed feathers, she is unable to regulate her body temperature and cannot keep herself warm during cool weather. In addition, her talons are not suited to capturing prey. Carrie typically spends her day on the porch of the Audubon House but also makes appearances at educational functions as an Ambassador Bird.
Queenie - Barn Owl
Queenie, a female barn owl, was admitted to the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in the spring of 2002. She was a very young owlet who had been attacked by her parents or siblings and pushed out of the nest. When she fell she sustained a severe fracture of her right wing, and upon examination, center staff discovered trauma to one eye and several old punctures.This beautiful owl had also suffered neurological damage, but as the days progressed she gradually improved. Her wing fracture was stabilized with surgery, and the “tracking”, or uncontrolled head movement, began to subside. Today Queenie spends her days in the Owl Aviary, surrounded by other non-releasable birds.