SNN (ScrollingNetworkNews) ✿ ✿ Our Mel and Sydney returned to their nesting box with plenty of bonding occurring..but after 2.5 months of Sydney in the box from Dec 2013 to mid Feb 2014, the lack of prey gifts from Mel ( perhaps due to the severe and historic drought underway in California)and they have forgone the nesting process this year as many other raptors ✿ Compared to other owls of similar size, the Barn Owl has a much higher metabolic rate, requiring relatively more food. Pound for pound, Barn Owls consume more rodents – often regarded as pests by humans – than possibly any other creature. ✿ We remind viewers that sometimes owlets may not survive - the parents will dispose of things in "The Owl Way" -viewer discretion is advised, this is nature and the "Owl way". ✿ ~ ✿ “Animals, like us, are living souls. They are not things. They are not objects. Neither are they human. Yet they mourn. They love. They dance. They suffer. They know the peaks and chasms of being.” ― Gary Kowalski, The Souls of Animals ✿ Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius." ~ E.O. Wilson

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

PUEO: Endangered Guardian Spirit

Hawai‘i has two species of owls, the introduced barn owl and the endangered Hawaiian owl or
pueo. The pueo is a subspecies of the short-eared owl. It is a smaller owl, with yellow eyes and a round dark facial disk, and is 13-17 inches long. It is an endemic species, which evolved in the Hawaiian islands and is not found naturally elsewhere. The early Hawaiians arriving on the islands found the owl already present. There is no fossil record of the pueo before the Polynesians arrived here. That may be because the early Polynesians created a habitat that was suited for colonization by the pueo.

Unlike the other common Barn Owl, also found in Hawai’i, the pueo is diurnal, more active during daylight, and nests on the ground. The pueo’s modern diet consists of introduced rodents, rats, mice, and small mongooses. Before rodents arrived, pueo is thought to have feasted on the small Hawaiian rail, a flightless bird that is now extinct. Even though the main diet of the pueo is mostly rodents and mongoose, the fact that the pueo is a ground nesting owl means the eggs and young, ironically, are often raided by rodents and mongoose. Pueo lays between 3 to 6 eggs over a span of several months resulting in babies being born at different times. A nest will often have all ages, baby to adult, in the nest at the same time. Owlets begin to fly at about 6 weeks of age.

Over the last ten years, only two pueo sighting have been reported in the Ka‘ena Point Natural Area Reserve. As pueo are territorial and active during the day. Unfortunately, the pueo is considered to be very rare on O‘ahu. Like seabirds, pueo nest on the ground and are vulnerable to cats, dogs and mongoose. A predator-proof fence would provide one of the only safe nesting areas for pueo in all the Hawaiian Islands. Pueo naturally used to eat mostly birds and insects prior to the arrival of humans, so by improving seabird habitat, pueo will have more of its natural food source.

Fun Fact - The Pueo - Hawaiian Owl (Asio flammeus sandwicensis) – is considered sacred by many Hawaiians. It is a widely recognized Hawaiian ancestral guardian known as `aumakua. These birds are believed to protect individuals from harm, and even death.