I’m going to take a bit of a departure for parrot-related news this week to focus on owls, which are solitary, nocturnal birds of prey. Recently a very rare species of owl, the long-whiskered owlet, was observed in the wild in Peru by an American ornithological team. The owlet, first discovered in 1976, is tiny, no bigger than a fist. The amber-eyed owl’s facial feathers extend out past its head, making it appear to have wispy whiskers. It is also conjectured that the owl is nearly flightless
The American Bird Conservancy said the sighting “is considered a holy grail of South American ornithology.” It is so distinct that it has been named in its own genus, Xenoglaux, meaning “strange owl”, due to the long wispy feathers that stream out from its eyes.
Hoot hoot, I say.
There are only 250 to 1000 of the owlets left, who’s numbers have been drastically affected by habitat destruction. The American team was able to record the owlet’s calls and photograph it after one was caught in a mist-net. My SciBling GrrlScientist has also reported on the recent sighting of this tiny rare owl.
Now, on the other side of the world, a bit more disturbing piece of owl-ly news. As reported in the Moscow News:
A scantily clad, 32-year-old man was found dead early Monday in a pool of blood in an owl cage at the Moscow Zoo. A bird keeper at the zoo found the man, Alexander Luparev at about 10 a.m., lying in the cage, which is home to a Siberian long-tailed tawny owl.
Huuhhh? Whaaaaaaat? A naked drunk guy, dead in the owl-cage? Apparently, also found in the cage was a bunch of money and a half-empty liter jug of vodka. Sadly the incident seems to have severely traumatized the owl:
He is believed to have died between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. The owl, which flew out of its cage after the incident, was found perched in a tree next door to the zoo Tuesday evening.
“The owl is still in a state of shock,” zoo spokeswoman Natalya Istratova said Wednesday.
She added that the owl was not eating or drinking and that she feared for its life.
This incident can’t help but make me recall the incident a few months back when a drunk Chinese man jumped into a panda enclosure and got the smack-down from its resident. I always thought that the cages and fences were to keep the animals *in*, however it seems equally important to keep drunken fools *out*. Don’t mess with the endangered species. You’ve been warned.
Hat-tip Ben and Chris for the stories.