THE CASCADES RAPTOR CENTER, EUGENE, OREGON: Guest Post by Dmitri the Owl, as told to Caroline Hatton

THE CASCADES RAPTOR CENTER, EUGENE, OREGON: Guest Post by Dmitri the Owl, as told to Caroline Hatton

THE CASCADES RAPTOR CENTER, EUGENE, OREGON: Guest Post by Dmitri the Owl, as told to Caroline Hatton


Dimitri the Owl at the Cascades Raptor Center, Eugene, Oregon

My
friend and fellow children’s book author Caroline Hatton visited the Cascades
Raptor Center outside of Eugene, Oregon, in May 2019. She took the photo in this
post. For info about her books, visit
www.carolinehattonauthor.com.

WOOO-ooo! My name is Dmitri. I’m a
Eurasian Eagle-Owl. I like my English species name, which has an exotic,
larger-than-life ring to it. It’s much better than the scientific one in Latin,
Bubo bubo, which makes me sound a bit
like an unsophisticated slouch (nothing could be further from the truth).

Eurasian Eagle-Owls
are the largest of all owls. Just look at me. In the photo above, not one bit
of my fine plumage is poofed up. I really am that big.
I live in a tall
evergreen forest, at the Cascades Raptor Center
, a 13-minute drive from
downtown Eugene, Oregon. My
neighbors residing at the Center are all raptors, except for the vultures, which are carrion eaters.
(A
raptor is any bird that catches prey with its feet.)
There
are other owls, eagles, falcons, harriers, hawks, kites, and an osprey. We live
in spacious aviaries and are easy for human visitors to see–even
the smaller, shy owls when they sit quietly in their little shelters near the
top of their enclosures.
We live here
because our human staff determined that, for a variety of reasons, we would not
be able to survive in the wild. Some of the others were rescued after getting
injured in the wild and treated in the Center’s hospital, but perhaps a broken
wing didn’t heal perfectly so they wouldn’t be able to fly well enough to hunt.
As for me, I
wouldn’t even want to live in the wild! I was hatched in human care. I rather
like being served by nice humans who prepare my meals, clean my room, and
assist me with educating all kinds of interesting people. When it’s my turn to
teach, a staff member carries me out of my aviary to get up close and personal
with my admirers, and gives me extra treats as tips for excellence in
education. WOO-oo!
I’m a pretty good teacher.
I am cognizant of the fact that my imposing presence (I can’t help but look
majestic) can be intimidating, but I assure you that I am quick to put everyone
at ease. After all, I am the most senior Education Team member—but I don’t mean
the oldest or the one with the most years of experience: simply stated, I am
the best. Yet I am humble, and would never even suggest that anyone address me
as “Professor.”
My peeps are my
booking agents for appearances at photo shoots, corporate events, weddings, and
on film sets. I am a reliable performer, adding a touch of spectacularity even
when all I do is show up, or eliciting a guaranteed WOW when asked to
fly. If you’re not convinced that you’ll be as pleased with me as I am, I can provide
references.
I could make a
fortune, but instead I donate all my fees to the Center. Fundraising is also
done by requiring human visitors to buy a ticket for less than $10 to see us
birds. But for us, seeing you humans is free!
Although
I am indisputably the shiniest star at the Center, there are other stars of the
bird world, who all proudly contribute to our vital mission: connecting people
to wildlife. Nike
is a gyrfalcon. His species, the
largest of all falcons, was the bird of kings in Medieval falconry.
(He and I understand one another as fellow celebrities)
Another kind of
record-holder is perhaps the most, um… cosmetically challenged: the turkey vultures, named Kali and Lethe. I
love them, warts (quite literally) and all. They are remarkably intelligent.
Theirs is a dirty job, eating rotten carcasses. They
deserve admiration and gratitude for their clean-up services, which protect the
rest of the world from disease.
The prettiest, if
you ask me, is good old Archimedes, the snowy owl,
a fluffy white darling. Please don’t tell him I said that.
Well, it’s almost
tea time. I must go now, but I’ll leave you to read about what to do if you
find an injured bird of prey
, so you can avoid doing the
wrong thing, unintentionally killing the bird or ruining its chance to
return to the wild.
I hope to have
provided irresistible details. If you need anything more, please don’t hesitate
to have your people contact my people, or come see me during my office hours (listed
at the website). I would love to wow you in person!
For
more info
A
visit to the website
is a veritable virtual visit to
the center, with bird photos, bios, species info, and lists of supporters who
adopted each bird. But nothing comes close to meeting the live birds!
See
and hear a Eurasian Eagle-Owl hooting.

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