May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center has a hoot on TV

October 27, 2016

May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center Director, Nina Fischesser, made an appearance on two local television stations last week with students and feathered-friends closely by her side.

WJHL TV and WKPT’s “Good Day Tri-Cities”—both located in the tri-city region of northeastern Tennessee—hosted Fischesser and students Alex Hayes and Keenan Freitas.  

On Monday, October 17, Fischesser brought along ‘Hamlet’, a northern saw-whet owl (aegolius acadicus), ‘Sealy’ a barred owl (strix varia) and ‘Captain’ a red-tailed hawk (buteo jamaicensis).

Saw-whet owls, the smallest breed of owl east of the Mississippi, are known for the high-altitude dwellings in both North Carolina and Tennessee. One of the highest population densities of the small owl in the Blue Ridge Mountain Range is at Roan Mountain State Park in Tennessee.

Sealy, perched on the forearm of Freitas, towered over tiny Hamlet in size. Barred owls can often be recognized by their iconic hoot.  

Fischesser said it sounds like, “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?”

Sealy is considered an “imprint” meaning “she thinks she’s a person,” Fischesser said. Sealy will never be able to be released into the wild.

“But we are very happy to have her on our educational team,” she added.

Barred owls are located all across North Carolina and in some high elevations as well, Fischesser said.

As for Captain, the stoic bird is extremely important for the ecosystem, Fischesser said.

“It’s because they eat mice and rats,” she added. 

On Thursday, October 20, Fischesser brought along the usual crowd with the addition of Cloudfeather, a leucistic red-tailed hawk.

Leucistic means Cloudfeather lacks pigmentation, but still has normal coloring in her eyes and in patches of her feathers.

Like Sealy, both Captain, Hamlet and Cloudfeather are non-releasable animals.

“They have injuries or problems that leave them to be with us permanently,” Fischesser said.

Learn more about the May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

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