Sanders (3)On a recent trip to Moose Jaw to visit two of Amy’s grandparents, we made it a point to visit the Saskatchewan Burrowing Owl Interpretive Centre (SBOIC) – we had tried to see this place a couple of years ago, but had happened to arrive in the winter when the owls are enjoying the more temperate climes of Mexico. The Western (or Northern) Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia hypugaea), as the name suggests, is a small owl that likes to inhabit old prairie dog or ground squirrel burrows. Most of the captive owls at the Centre were just hanging out in front of their homes, but we did get to see Sanders, one of the imprinted (raised by humans) Ambassador Owls, up close as she was more inclined to be interested in visitors. After she had thoroughly examined us and attempted to nibble her way out of the cage, she flew back into the covered part of the enclosure to regain an all-seeing perch on top of the door. We later bought a plush owl, which fits perfectly in an opening next to the glove compartment and is therefore now the mascot for Amy’s car.

Sanders (1)Sanders (2)

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Northern saw-whet owl (2)Amy and I were long overdue for a trip out to Fort Whyte, Winnipeg’s brilliant nature and interpretive centre, and so positively jumped at the opportunity to attend the launch of the Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas. The Atlas is a long-term citizen science project which aims to build up an accurate picture of resident and visiting birds – crucial for determining habitats and numbers. We were lured there partly by the chance to chat to interesting bird-watching types and partly by the wine and cheese on offer, but mostly by the opportunity to meet a long-eared owl (Asio otus) and a northern saw-whet owl (Aegolius acadicus).

Note: No owl extermination occurred. The title of this post is one of my and Amy’s most-quoted lines from the Futurama filmBender’s Game. Enjoy it here. And yes, the title of the last post was also an appropriate Futurama quote, this time from Nibbler.

Northern saw-whet owl (1)Northern saw-whet and long-eared owls

Long-eared owl (1)Long-eared owl (2)Long-eared owl (3)