Monday, September 20, 2010

Merlin visits the mall

Geoff and I have had the privilege of visiting Hawk Creek Wildlife Center in East Aurora, New York on a couple of occasions but they are only open to the public a select few days each year.

In the meantime, volunteers and birds from the Center can usually be found providing outreach education in the lower concourse of the Walden Galleria in Buffalo on Saturday afternoons.

We were in Buffalo this past Saturday and I took this shot of a volunteer holding Merlin a Barred Owl.

According to information on the Hawk Creek website, Merlin was caught on the Seneca Nation and brought to Hawk Creek. He was diving at people and had injured two men on their faces. Normally, this species would only do this to defend its territory from other owls. His abnormal behavior is a result of imprinting on humans, which means he sees humans as competition. Because of this condition, he is too dangerous to be released.
Hatched: 4/1/2004 Arrived: 9/20/2004

Isn't he lovely?


  1. Merlin may have had other reasons - perhaps someone tried to harm him once.

    Beautiful photo.

  2. He really is a handsome owl! We have a barred owl that lives on our property and we have really enjoyed hearing him and seeing him! However he never makes a move towards us or our dogs and lets us admire him from a safe distance--I'm glad this one has been able to find a life that keeps him (and others) safe!

  3. What a shame for Merlin! He is very handsome!

  4. He's gorgeous. Of course, I anthropomorphize all the time, and in this photo I think I see sadness in the downturning bits on either side of his beak. He's probably happier in the mall than he was outside, imagining people were his competition.
    But it isn't imaginary to say I empathize, Elaine. I'm a British Columbian landlocked in southeastern Alberta. Happens to the best of us sometimes, often through no fault of our own. LOL
    I remember flash cubes. I remember before flash cubes, too - flash bulbs! And no such thing as colour film.

    Alberta, Canada

  5. What an awesome bird! I love these owls.