Marin Independent Journal - Posted: 10/02/2011
Alex Godbe, carrying Wookie, is founder of the Hungry Owl Project.
Godbe, refers to Wookie as a "Wildlife
ambassador," visiting schools to spread the word about the nocturnal birds and their function as rodent control.
The Hungry Owl Project is an organization dedicated to the preservation of the birds.
ALEX GODBE OF San Anselmo is celebrating 10 years of her Hungry Owl Project this year. The program aims to reduce the need for pesticides and rodenticides by encouraging natural predators, in this case owls.
Godbe, 55, grew up in England with an animal-loving, vegetarian family that inspired a love for all living creatures. She had dreams of becoming a vet but ended up touring the world until coming to Marin.
Q: How did you get into working with owls?
A: As a child growing up in England I was fascinated with owls because I would hear them, but only catch rare fleeting glimpses of them. When I was an intern at WildCare, I became even more fascinated with owls after seeing them up close and learning how incredible they are. Knowing the environmentally problems owls face and the decline in owl populations, I knew I wanted to help and so began the Hungry Owl Project.
Q: What do you love about it?
A: I love working with owls because they represent mystery and magic. In person they are very charismatic and commanding, but also a little comical.Q: What's the strangest thing that ever happened when working with owls?
A: Having an owl hatch in my car. I was rescuing a family of owls after the mother had died suffocating on a gopher that lodged in her throat. The male does not incubate or tear up food for young chicks, so the five almost-naked chicks and two eggs were doomed. I was racing home to get them warm and fed, when I noticed one of the eggs was actually hatching.
Q: What has your work taught you about owls?
A: Owls have taught me how little we really know about our wildlife. How similar they are to us in many ways. Having an intimate view of an owl family raising their young in our owl cam nest box, I have seen tenderness, affection, playfulness as well as the determined devoted parents that are exhausted from caring for the kids.
Q: What's hard about it?
A: It is hard seeing owls and so many species of wildlife dying of secondary poisoning — eating a poisoned rodent. Using poisons is so unnecessary when there are better long-term safe and effective alternatives.
I think I found a new hero in my life. Alex Godbe you R O C K !
Hungry Owl Project
HOP info about Owlboxes
HOP Director Alex Godbe received a 2010 Wells Fargo Advisors Second Half Champions Award.
See her Video about the Hungry Owl Project