Eastern Screech-owl Release!

Last night, Tricia and I were fortunate enough to be present for the release of not one, but three EASTERN SCREECH-OWLS. The owls were all injured in the Warwick area and rehabilitated by Missy Runyan at the Friends of the Feathered and Furry Wildlife Center. Our friend Carol Linguanti, who is also a wildlife rehabber, was given the wonderful task of releasing the birds and invited me along to witness and take some photos. This, of course made me nervous about getting good shots, but I was thrilled to have the opportunity. Our first stop was at Homestead Village, where one of the birds was found on the lawn of a resident. Since the bird was brought in for rehabilitation a short time ago, it was released in the same spot where it was picked up. Here are some shots from the release:

An Eastern Screech-owl waits for its eyes to adjust to the light before being released. Warwick, NY 7/18/14.
An Eastern Screech-owl seems to be waiting for its eyes to adjust to the light before being released. Warwick, NY 7/18/14.
The EASO was out of the box before I knew it, but I did manage one silhouetted flight shot.
The EASO was out of the box before I knew it, but I did manage one silhouetted flight shot.
Tricia faired much better from the other side, getting this shot.
Tricia faired much better from the other side, getting this shot.
The owl perched on a nearby branch for probably less than a minute and then seemed to get its bearings and took off.
The owl perched on a nearby branch for probably less than a minute and then seemed to get its bearings and took off.

The second and third owls apparently had been in rehab for a longer period of time, during which, they bonded. They were to be released together on a large tract of land that Carol owns in Warwick. This release was made even more exciting with the sighting of TWO BEARS! How good can it get? Here are the photos from that release:

Getting ready to be free again, one rufous and one gray Eastern Screech-owls. Photo by Carol Linguanti, Warwick, NY 7/18/14.
Getting ready to be free again, one rufous and one gray Eastern Screech-owl.  Photo by Carol Linguanti, Warwick, NY 7/18/14.
This EASO behaved similarly to the first release, perching nearby for a short period of time before taking off into the woods.
This EASO behaved similarly to the first release, perching nearby for a short period of time before taking off into the woods.
The first bear we saw was relatively small, presumably a young bear.
The first bear we saw was relatively small, presumably a young bear.
The second bear was huge and Carol's husband Bobby was very excited when we watched the bear use the bridge that Bobby had built to get over a stream.
The second bear was huge and Carol’s husband Bobby was very excited when we watched the bear use the bridge that Bobby had built to get over a stream.

I really cannot thank Carol enough for inviting me to be part of this. It was so exciting to get to see these owls up close and fulfilling to know that they had been successfully rehabbed and now were back where they belonged.

 

 

6 thoughts on “Eastern Screech-owl Release!”

  1. Wow! You don’t let any grass grow under your feet! Great opportunity for the Screech-owl photos, it must have been fun. I think you are currently seeing more bears than anyone I know. Glad you’re having a great time!

    1. Oh, I’ve been keeping busy for sure John! The Screech-owls were terrific, and you should have seen that huge bear walking across that bridge, it was incredible. Take care – Matt

  2. Great opportunity for you! I’ve always liked silhouette shots and sunsets, so two in one is even better. FYI – the last time I was at the AT in Vernon, a man walking his dog told me he saw what sounds like a baby rail where the boardwalk off 517 first becomes a dirt path in the wooded section. Small, egg-shaped, fuzzy black was his description. Don’t know how often you go there, but thought I’d pass it along.

    1. Thanks for the info Marianne, I will try to get back out to the AT this week to try for the young rails – that would be great to see. Best – Matt

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