Portrait Of Mama

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A Foster Mother Owl

She was stuck in a cage at a gas station in Farmingville, until authorities rescued this magnificent Great Horned Owl and brought her to Volunteers for Wildlife’s Hospital in September of 1991. She was suffering from a poorly healed wing fracture and required a partial amputation. It was obvious to the rehabilitators at the Wildlife Hospital that this young owl deserved a second chance.

Mama, the Great Horned Owl and Animal Ambassador.
(Photos courtesy of Volunteers for Wildlife)

She healed from surgery but would never fly again or survive in the wild. She became an Animal Ambassador for Volunteers for Wildlife’s Education Department, but her disability prevented her from balancing well on a handling glove. Still, the rehabilitators did not give up on her and thought she might serve as a foster parent. This is how she got her name: Mama. Injured Great Horned owlets were placed under her watchful eye as they grew stronger and prepared for release. Mama acted as an exceptional mentor owl to these youngsters, helping them to develop necessary social skills needed to thrive in the wild.

Mama, now 31 years old, is retired from her parenting duties.  She spends her days roosting in her aviary and peacefully napping. Once the sun sets, she uses a special owl ladder to climb down from her perch to eat a little something and take a bath. In the early mornings, as the hospital staff begins their day, Mama can be heard hooting to the wild owls that live in the nearby wooded areas. Don’t you wonder what motherly advice she might be doling out?

An owlet.

Come to the Wildlife Walk on Saturday, June 5 at the Seminary Conference Center in Huntington and meet Mama’s fellow Owl Ambassadors, Marcus, Duncan and Orlando. Looking for a meaningful gift for this Mother’s Day? You can sponsor an orphaned baby in need of our care. Sponsorships provide nutritious food, life-saving medications, and nurturing care to a wild baby in need of help. There are so many ways you can help Long Island’s wildlife. Visit the website to learn more.

A young wild owl.

Volunteers for Wildlife’s Rehabilitation Hospital & Education Center (V4W) is located at Bailey Arboretum in Locust Valley. Approximately 2,300 injured and orphaned animals are treated every year at the hospital. Countless more are triaged through the hotline, which receives more than10,000 calls. V4W also offers educational programs to schools, scouts, libraries, community organizations and private parties.

Visit www.volunteersforwildlife.org to learn more about our services and about the Wildlife Walk on Sunday, June 5, at the beautiful Seminary Conference & Retreat Center from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. Tickets and sponsorships are available. The Wildlife Hotline is 516-674-0982 or email info@volunteersforwildlife.org. Follow V4W on Facebook and Instagram.

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