Eurasian owlet makes its public debut at Pittsburgh's National Aviary
The National Aviary has welcomed a cute young chick as a new resident: a month-old Eurasian owl, hatched as a result of a species-sustaining breeding program.
As of April 9, the female chick, yet to be named, is 28 days old. She may be a down-covered baby now, but just wait: In another month's time, the chick will be a full-grown owl that weighs 6 to 7 pounds and has a 5-foot wingspan. The baby, originally about 1.7 ounces, doubled in size within just five days after hatching.
Within a few weeks, the chick — offspring of X and Dumbledore, aviary owls that bred in November — will be losing her fuzz in favor of feathers.
“They go from being fluffy-looking to looking like teenagers,” says Dr. Pilar Fish, director of veterinary medicine for the North Side aviary.
Members of the public can see the chick — who hatched from an egg about twice as big as a chicken's egg — during twice-a-day sessions starting April 10 in the FliteZone Theater. The owlet gives the aviary a Eurasian eagle cast of four, including Gandolf, the chick's uncle.
Aviary staff members are hand-raising the chick rather than leaving her with her parents, which, hopefully, will result in a bird that works well in educational programs, but still maintains owl characteristics, says Cathy Schlott, the aviary's manager of animal training.
Although human-raised birds are still wild animals and don't become pet-like, they can participate in the aviary's educational programs with visitors, Fish says. A wild owl will fly away from humans.
Just like human babies, the chick spends most of her days eating and sleeping, Fish and Schlott say. When it first hatched, the chick got five feedings a day; now, it's down to three. The chick stays in an open pen near staff members, who use tweezers to feed the little carnivore cut-up, thawed, supplemented rats and mice.
The owlet doesn't hoot yet, but she does make chirping sounds.
“It is amazing to watch,” says Schlott, who says observing the chick's rapid growth is like seeing a whole new bird every few days.
Kellie B. Gormly, a staff writer for Trib Total Media, can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7824.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Steelers rising fast in mediocre AFC
- Heyward, swarming defense get best of Chiefs in Steelers’ win
- Steelers offense learning to slam door
- Steelers-Bengals game to start at 8:30 p.m.
- Missed chances haunt Chiefs against Steelers
- Steelers clinch trip to postseason with big victory over Chiefs
- LaBar: Reigns could be WWE’s next big gamble
- SWAT teams surround Lincoln-Lemington home after shooting
- Downie, Farnham bringing a much-needed edge to the Penguins
- Old-school booksellers learn to survive, thrive in digital age
- Steelers notebook: Gay respects ‘anything’ referees call