Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)
Our Mascot of 20 years affectionally known as “Uncle Merlin” died Friday, August 15, 2003.
Merlin arrived in 1983 after his wing was amputated because it was severely damaged by beating it against the bars of the small cage that had been his home. Some well-meaning people rescued the owl when he was about 3 months old and kept him in that cage. They did not have the facility, nor the knowledge of raising and releasing a juvenile bird of prey. The veterinarian suggested that the owl be taken to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
After rehabilitation from the amputation, Merlin stayed at the Center and became a part of the education program. Nan Pipestem, for whom the Center is named, took Merlin to visit schools, so the children could get a close-up look to see how magnificent wildlife can be. The school children learned that wild animals are not pets. They learned how to respect wildlife and the importance of having a wild place, an environment, for wildlife to live.
Merlin also became the foster parent for numerous young Great Horned Owls. He relieved a lot of their stress of growing up in a large enclosure and they could learn some of his hunting and flying techniques.
When the Center moved to the current Panoche location 13 years ago, Merlin even found a “girl friend”. A female owl would visit each night, sit in the large pepper tree and sing her “whooo whooo whooo” songs to him for many years. You could tell it was a female owl, because she was larger than Merlin. She would also come to check on how he was doing as a foster parent. Merlin and the female would “whooo” while the youngsters tried to mimic with a soft whistling version.
Old age caused Merlin to lose the sight in one eye several years ago so he retired from education, but he still played the foster parent role.
In August of 2003 he permanently lost the sight in his other eye. Since he could no longer see, quality of life no longer existed. He was euthanized on August 15. He will be missed.
Great horned owls are highly adaptable owls that can live in deep forests as well as open country throughout North, Central and South America. Lets hope that these magnificent creatures always have a wild place in which to live.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND AN INJURED WILD BIRD OR ANIMAL
LEAVE IT ALONE + LEAVE IT ALONE + LEAVE IT ALONE
Unless it’s a small bird, leave it alone. If it’s a small bird, please place it in a covered and padded box, or sturdy paper bag with air holes. Place it in warm, dark, quiet conditions and do not give this wild animal anything to eat or drink. Immediately contact your local, licensed wildlife rehabilitation center for directions.
If it’s a larger bird like a magpie, crow, heron, egret, hawk, owl or eagle leave it alone. Larger birds have strong, sharp beaks. Some have strong sharp talons. They can inflict serious injury and then you will be too busy getting help for the injured humans to have time for the injured bird. Contact your local, licensed wildlife rehabilitation center. They have a staff that’s trained to capture the injured bird without further harm.
If it’s a mammal, PLEASE, LEAVE IT ALONE. Mammals have sharp teeth, they may have sharp claws and they may carry rabies. Injured animals are afraid and even a harmless looking one can inflict a serious bite. Contact your local, licensed wildlife rehabilitation center. They have a staff that’s trained to capture the injured animal without further harm.
Oh, did we mention – PLEASE, LEAVE IT ALONE!
CONTACT THE WILDLIFE CENTER NEAREST YOU!
IN SAN BENITO COUNTY:
||Nan Pipestem Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
P.O. Box 2244
Hollister, CA 95024
We have literally hundreds of success stories. And there are some very sad stories too. Unfortunately, you can’t have one without the other. There is nothing more rewarding than healing and injured animal, or raising and orphaned one, and returning them to their natural habitat. Volunteers get to share in a wide varieties of areas, and those really interested can qualify to attend special wildlife classes to learn how to give medical help to the injured.
Click below to see a just a few of the successful releases:
PLEASE FILL OUT THIS FORM, PRINT IT AND MAIL IT ALONG WITH YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO THE ABOVE ADDRESS
YES! I want to support wildlife rehabilitation in San Benito County
Thank You to all the donors who gave to our successful matching grant program.
The Nan Pipestem Wildlife Rehabilitation Center now has an endowment fund established with the Community Foundation of San Benito County. The endowment fund continues to grow as donations come in. The Wildlife Center is able to access only the interest from this account enabling donors to feel safe that their donations will continue for years to come. This also allows you to designate the fund in your will knowing your bequest will always serve wildlife in San Benito County. For more information, contact Gary Byrne at the Community Foundation of SBC (831) 630-1924.
Help us increase the Endowment Fund.