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Shot Here, Owl Heals and Is Returned to Temescal Canyon

February 09, 2006

Sue Pascoe , Post Contributor

At about 7:30 a.m. in early January, El Medio resident Doreen MacCuish looked out her window and saw

an owl sitting by the family pool. She and her husband David went outside and discovered that it had

been shot.

'Hawks and crows were circling above the owl, just waiting for it to die,' Doreen said, so while she went

inside to call Animal Control, David stood guard over the owl by waving a broom.

Doreen was told by Animal Control Officer Fredrick Jordan to cover the owl so it wouldn't try to fly injured;

this also protected the owl from predators. She and her husband put a trash can over the bird and waited

for Jordan to show up. He took the owl, kept it warm and quiet, and called Brenda Varvarigos, a volunteer

with the Camarillo Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

Varvarigos identified the bird as a male great horned owl (which can live up 50 years) and made sure it

got the appropriate medical treatment.

'This guy was very lucky,' said Varvarigos. 'He was hit in the body in the best place possible in order to

make a recovery. The metal pellet missed the wings and any major organs.'

Back in the Palisades, the MacCuishes and their neighbors heard another owl, circling and hooting. 'She

was crying for her mate,' Doreen said.

'Owls mate for life,' Varvarigas explained. 'It's the nesting season for the great horneds and males are

important. The female probably had eggs that she needed to hatch and the male would help incubate the

eggs as well as defending them from other predators.' Females usually lay between two to four eggs that

incubate in 26 to 35 days.

Metal pellets fired from guns, like the one that hit this particular owl, are illegal within L.A. city limits. It is also

a federal offense to harm a migratory bird and owls are considered migratory under the Migratory Treaty Act,

according to Varvarigos.

After the owl's wound had healed, Varvarigos took it to the Ojai Raptor Center, where keepers could observe

the owl in flight to make sure it had fully recovered.

Since adult owls tend to remain around their breeding area, last Saturday evening, after being gone from the

Palisades for a month, the great horned owl was released from the same site he had gone down'the

MacCuishes' backyard.

As neighbors and the MacCuishes' children, Kelsey and Ryan, looked on, Varvarigos, using a glove, took the

owl out of his cardboard transport box. She held him for a few minutes.

'The release went great,' Varvarigas said, 'A few flaps and then he spread his wings to almost five feet and

soared up and down into Temescal Canyon. He flew beautifully.'

Although this story has a happy ending, many do not. One of the major problems Varvarigas has encountered

in trying to save birds of prey is that they eat animals like rats or mice that have consumed poisons known as

rodenticides, which work as an anticoagulant that prevents blood clotting and causes the animal to slowly

bleed to death internally. The owl or other bird suffers the same fate as the animal that consumed the poison.

Varvarigas estimated that one out of every five birds brought to her dies because of this reason.

The city is currently looking at legislation that would prevent the use of these poisons in city parks, golf

courses and other facilities within two miles of mountain regions.

For people who insist on using rodent poison, Varvarigas suggested a new product on the market called

Rampage, which kills rodents by basically giving them an overdose of Vitamin B, but leaves owls and larger

mammals unharmed.

The Camarillo Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, which rescues birds and mammals, and the Ojai Raptor Center

depend entirely on volunteers and private donations. For more information about ORC, visit

www.ojairaptorcenter.org or call (805)-649-6884. The Web site for CWRC is under construction, but donations

can be sent to P.O. Box 172, Somis, CA 93066. Their hotline is (805) 482-7617, and Varvarigas can be

reached at (818) 346-8247.

 

 

Courtesy of the Palisade Post, February 9th, 2006

FHRA's Warm Winter Meeting 2005
 

A great turnout of more than 80 Franklin Hills neighbors filled the meeting room
at King Middle School for the FHRA's winter meeting, but that wasn't the big news of the night.

LAPD senior lead officer Al Polehonki announced that just before coming to the meeting he and fellow SLO Sam Salazar had arrested the suspect in four recent area bank robberies. The sharp eyed SLO's were just leaving El Arco Iris restaurant when they saw a man who matched the picture and description on an internal LAPD flyer. One of the banks allegedly robbed by the suspect was the CalNational Bank at Vermont and Prospect where the FHRA has an account. Bank Manager Dennis Ead was pleased when informed by FHRA treasurer Bruce Carroll that the suspect in the January 24th robbery had been arrested. Polehonki and Salazar's commitment to our neighborhood is evidenced by the fact that they came to our meeting and then went downtown to handle the liaison with the FBI.

 

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Another award winning performance featured Nicky Thole (left) and Brenda Varvarigos of the Camarillo Wildlife Rehab. They were presented with a certificate of appreciation by Capt. Wendell Bowers of LA City Department of Animal Services. Since last winter's FHRA meeting Camarillo Wildlife has helped save over a thousand animals picked up by LA City Animal Services officers.
 

Wildlife specialist, Officer Gregory Randall, was also back with tips for keeping wild critters at bay. Coyotes can travel 25 miles in a day, love to tunnel under fences, but hate noise…so, he advised, make plenty to scare them away, and if you see someone feeding a coyote please report it to the LA Dept. of Animal Services.


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Thole showed off a screech owl rescued after being hit by a car. The owls can camouflage themselves to look like trees and maybe a bit too much like asphalt. Thole reported that the possum that starred at last year's meeting had been released back into the wild last fall.
Also in the critter file FHRA Board Member George Grace reported that nearly $2000 has been donated to set up wildlife drinkers in Griffith Park to help keep animals there and not in our yards..
 

Courtesy of Franklin Hills Residents Association

Copyright © 2004 Nicky Thole/Karin Beer-Koller
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