I went to the alpine community of, uh, Alpine, California, this morning to go to the Sage & Butterflies Festival. Admission was free, so why not?
I came home with a new pet, and Zoey the Cool Cat is not happy:
No, I didn’t come home with that little guy. My spouse would have divorced me if I had.
That tarantula was a “rescue pet” and is living out its life at a wildlife sanctuary here in Southern California.
#2: Barn owls
On January 4, 2012, I headed out and about to attend an educational presentation about raptors. The presentation, by Sky Hunters of Lakeside, California (A on the map below), took place in Alpine (B):
The presentation featured an American kestrel, a red-tailed hawk, a western screech owl, and a barn owl. Here are three pictures of the barn owl:
The barn owl (Tyto alba) is the most widely distributed of the owls, occuring throughout the world except in polar and desert areas. It is a year-round resident of California, has become accustomed to human activities, and can be found in every county. It gets up to 18 inches long with a wingspan up to 48 inches and likes to roost and nest in dark cavities in trees, cliffs, and buildings.
This barn owl is injured and cannot be released into the wild. It makes its home at Sky Hunters, a nonprofit organization educating the public about raptors, promoting raptor conservation, and rehabilatating injured birds. Sky Hunters has a U.S. Federal Fish & Wildlife permit for rehabilitation, education, and eagle possession, as well as a California State Fish & Game permit for rehabilitation and education.
Sky Hunters depends on volunteers and donors to carry out its mission. If you would like to donate money, food, or any of the other items they regularly need, visit Sky Hunters funding.
Several years ago when I was doing a home inspection, I found a barn owl in the roof eaves keeping a very close eye on me:
I love seeing wildlife in zoos and aquariums, and at presentations, that I might not otherwise see, but there is something special about finding the wildlife in their natural habitat and being able to snap a picture of them.