I have been fortunate enough to have screech owls nest on my property on several occasions. I love the huge barred owls, but the little screechers have a cute, lovable personality all their own. So I really enjoyed learning about the surrogate screech owl daddy that they had at the Florida Wildlife Hospital and Sanctuary in Melbourne.
Here is the article, copied in its entirety:
“Each year, we receive many baby screech owls that have become separated from their parents. We make every attempt to reunite them with their families. However, sometimes we must become surrogate parents for these fluffy babies. Luckily, we have help: our education ambassador owl, Gonzo. Gonzo is an Eastern Screech Owl who has resided with us for 12 years. His main job is helping to teach individuals about wildlife. In a typical year, he has cared for 30-40 nestlings by feeding them and serving as a role model, including providing natural behavioral experiences to them that we as humans are unable to do. This year, Gonzo was busier that ever, raising over 50 babies, all of whom have now been released. We usually put only three to five babies in the cage with Gonzo at one time, but we set up other cages in the room with him so they can observe him. This year we needed to set up an entire room for Gonzo and his brood.
They hear his vocalization, observe his feeding behavior, recognize things that frighten him and learn a repertoire of behaviors we may not even notice.”
Florida Wildlife Hospital & Sanctuary, Inc. is licensed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission & U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. However, they receive no state or federal funding. If you love wildlife, I encourage you to help support this wonderful organization, which treats around 4800 sick, injured and orphaned animals and birds each year. They accept monetary donations, volunteer hours and also have a long “wish list” of non-monetary items that they always need.