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Young Short-Earned Owl Captured" by Plant"

Gordon W. Gullion
Publication Information
5 (September-October)
From Field and Study

Young Short-eared Owl “Captured” by Plant.-On June 14, 1947, while working the Fern Ridge Reservoir west of Eugene, Oregon, I came upon an immature Short-eared Owl (Asio fimmeus) in a.rather unusual circumstance.

This bird did not have fully formed primaries and so was unable to fly. It had left the nest and wandered through the grass until it came to a ditch filled with water. The owl was apparently moving along the edge of this ditch when it came into contact with a plant of the common tar-weed (Mudia s&vu) which has very sticky-glandular leaves. The young owl became trapped with two of the leaves firmly attached to the feathers on the top of its head.

When I came upon this owl, it was able to move but a few inches forward or backward. Had I not freed the bird it would certainly have lost its life. To free the bird it was necessary to remove the leaves from the plant and then pull the feathers out of the bird’s head to which the leaves were stuck. The feathers could not be freed from the leaves.

In areas where this plant is common it might be a source of some loss of life among young birds of the ground dwelling species.

The young owl now wears band number 45624031.-GORWN W. GULLION, Eugene, Oregon, July 1, 1948. 

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