The Pemberton Post

When you first begin working with a Bird of Prey, it can be quite intimidating. Pemberton is over 20 inches tall, has almost a 4 foot wingspan, and weighs over 3 pounds. Her talons are adapted for grabbing prey that weigh as much as or more than she does. Her beak is razor sharp and she has a tremendous amount of biting force.

So how would you go about training a natural born predator to stand patiently on your arm in front of hundreds of people a week?

You talk. As silly as it sounds, the best way to get acquainted with an owl is to talk to it. For the first three visits to see Pemberton I really did nothing but read books to her and talk to her. This lets her get used to hearing my voice and helps her be more comfortable with me walking around and waving my arms as though I were doing a program with her.

So after hours of talking, reading, whispering and pacing around her, she began to get so comfortable she fell asleep.

 

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And then I tripped over the rug…

 

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Thanks for reading and please subscribe to the blog to keep up with our progress.

Keep your ear tufts up,
Leif

Leif Kixmiller is an Education and Program Specialist at the Discovery Center. He loves to teach children so he can pass on his knowledge and love of nature to future generations. He loves birds, books, and ice cream breaks.

 

Added note: Having possession of an owl or any other bird of prey requires a permit or license and is otherwise against the law. Living with or taking care of a bird of prey requires a lot of dedicated time and commitment. It is by no means easy and is often restrictive of a life style. This story was written and shared with you in appreciation of our natural wildlife, their habitats, and conservation.

Help Discovery Center build a home for Pemberton!

 

Discovery Center has 59 animals, soon to be 60!

 

During a visit to the Discovery Center you may see an African Leopard tortoise, a Ball Python, a Chinchilla, and maybe even a giraffe. (Just kidding about the giraffe) But when May comes, you might catch a glimpse of a Bubo virginianus.

Pemberton, a Great Horned Owl, was found tangled in a barbed wire fence. She was taken to Walden’s Puddle, a wildlife rehabilitation facility in Joelton, Tennessee, where she underwent emergency surgery on her left wing. The damage to her nerves and thin-walled hollow bones in her wing was severe and she is now unable to fly.

Pemberton’s life quickly became much different. Instead of sleeping all day and stalking her prey at night, she was living inside and having to put up with a man with a perch and a glove………………..me.

Over the next few months I will be training Pemberton, or maybe she will be training me, for use in our educational programs. She will be a perfect addition to our already outstanding array of animals. We are currently in the process of building an enclosure for her here at the DC so she can make herself at home. We hope to have her at the opening to our travelling exhibit, Animal Secrets, which opens in May 2013.

If you would like to know more about training “birds of prey,” Pemberton, or would like to follow along with our progress, you can subscribe to this blog or continue to check it weekly.

Keep your ear tufts up,

Leif

Leif Kixmiller is an Education and Program Specialist at the Discovery Center. He loves to teach children so he can pass on his knowledge and love of nature to future generations. He loves birds, books, and ice cream breaks.