Athena: Barn Owl
Athena was found in the Sutter Buttes near Yuba City, California, in June 2006. She was found at the nest site as a hatchling, suffering a right wing injury. In August, she was transferred to CRC. She is non-releasable both because of her wing injury and because she was imprinted on people. This means that Athena identifies with humans—she simply doesn't know that she's a Barn Owl or even, perhaps, that she's a bird. She is therefore not afraid of people and will boldly approach them for food. This can be dangerous not only for the bird but for people as well. Like all raptors, barn owls have very sharp talons and beaks.
Athena began the taming* process and eventually did very well with it. She now stays calm when out "on the fist" in front of an audience. Children, especially, are fascinated by her wonderful heart-shaped facial disk, which helps her hear acutely, and the way she moves her head in order to see and hear better.
Athena is an excellent ambassador, encouraging people to build and set up barn owl nest boxes to provide these birds with homes and to provide people with a way to control rodents without poisons. Barn Owls raise as many as 15 to 17 young a year, each capable of eating well over a thousand rodents.
* Taming is the process of teaching a bird to stay perched on your gloved fist. The bird is fitted with special leather bracelets around the ankles, to which jesses, a swivel, and a leash are attached. This equipment keeps the bird from flying away or from injury if it should become agitated.Adopt This Bird!