I would like to thank the Great Bend Tribune for the great coverage they provide for the Kansas Wetlands Education Center and for reporter Jim Misunas’ coverage of KWEC’s recent family program on owls. We greatly appreciate the Tribune’s help in drawing attention to Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area, its animals and plants and its importance to the area.
I do need to correct some misunderstandings in the article “Masters of the Sky”. “Archie” the little red-colored owl used in the program is an Eastern screech owl, a species common to the area, not a spotted owl, an endangered owl of the American Northwest’s deep forests.
We appreciate the Great Bend Zoo’s cooperation in allowing KWEC to use their great-horned owl for programming, but the screech owl, Archie, is permitted through the Fish and Wildlife Service for KWEC and resides at the Center, not the Zoo. He was brought to Eagle Valley Raptor Center last spring, after someone found him on the ground blown from his nest by a tornado. Because he became too attached to humans, he was deemed unreleasable to the wild.
Three snowy owls have been spotted so far this winter season at the Bottoms. They are a rare winter visitor, appearing when prey conditions change in the Arctic, where they normally reside, prompting them to migrate southward.
Barn owls do not contain the oil glands other birds use to waterproof their feathers, although they retain the behavior of spreading oil over their feathers. Owl pellets, which contain undigested bones and fur, are actually coughed up through the owl’s throat like a cat’s hair balls.
Thank you for allowing me to clear up some points from the program and for the publicity you provide the KWEC.
KDWPT educator at KWEC