THE CASCADES RAPTOR CENTER, EUGENE, OREGON: Guest Post by Dmitri the Owl, as told to Caroline Hatton



Dimitri the Owl at the Cascades Raptor Center, Eugene, Oregon
My friend and fellow children’s book author Caroline Hatton visited the Cascades Raptor Center outside of Eugene, Oregon, in May 2019. She took the photo in this post. For info about her books, visit www.carolinehattonauthor.com.

WOOO-ooo! My name is Dmitri. I’m a Eurasian Eagle-Owl. I like my English species name, which has an exotic, larger-than-life ring to it. It’s much better than the scientific one in Latin, Bubo bubo, which makes me sound a bit like an unsophisticated slouch (nothing could be further from the truth).

Eurasian Eagle-Owls are the largest of all owls. Just look at me. In the photo above, not one bit of my fine plumage is poofed up. I really am that big.

I live in a tall evergreen forest, at the Cascades Raptor Center, a 13-minute drive from downtown Eugene, Oregon. My neighbors residing at the Center are all raptors, except for the vultures, which are carrion eaters. (A raptor is any bird that catches prey with its feet.) There are other owls, eagles, falcons, harriers, hawks, kites, and an osprey. We live in spacious aviaries and are easy for human visitors to see--even the smaller, shy owls when they sit quietly in their little shelters near the top of their enclosures.

We live here because our human staff determined that, for a variety of reasons, we would not be able to survive in the wild. Some of the others were rescued after getting injured in the wild and treated in the Center’s hospital, but perhaps a broken wing didn’t heal perfectly so they wouldn’t be able to fly well enough to hunt.

As for me, I wouldn’t even want to live in the wild! I was hatched in human care. I rather like being served by nice humans who prepare my meals, clean my room, and assist me with educating all kinds of interesting people. When it’s my turn to teach, a staff member carries me out of my aviary to get up close and personal with my admirers, and gives me extra treats as tips for excellence in education. WOO-oo!

I’m a pretty good teacher. I am cognizant of the fact that my imposing presence (I can’t help but look majestic) can be intimidating, but I assure you that I am quick to put everyone at ease. After all, I am the most senior Education Team member—but I don’t mean the oldest or the one with the most years of experience: simply stated, I am the best. Yet I am humble, and would never even suggest that anyone address me as “Professor.”

My peeps are my booking agents for appearances at photo shoots, corporate events, weddings, and on film sets. I am a reliable performer, adding a touch of spectacularity even when all I do is show up, or eliciting a guaranteed WOW when asked to fly. If you’re not convinced that you’ll be as pleased with me as I am, I can provide references.

I could make a fortune, but instead I donate all my fees to the Center. Fundraising is also done by requiring human visitors to buy a ticket for less than $10 to see us birds. But for us, seeing you humans is free!

Although I am indisputably the shiniest star at the Center, there are other stars of the bird world, who all proudly contribute to our vital mission: connecting people to wildlife. Nike is a gyrfalcon. His species, the largest of all falcons, was the bird of kings in Medieval falconry. (He and I understand one another as fellow celebrities)

Another kind of record-holder is perhaps the most, um… cosmetically challenged: the turkey vultures, named Kali and Lethe. I love them, warts (quite literally) and all. They are remarkably intelligent. Theirs is a dirty job, eating rotten carcasses. They deserve admiration and gratitude for their clean-up services, which protect the rest of the world from disease.

The prettiest, if you ask me, is good old Archimedes, the snowy owl, a fluffy white darling. Please don’t tell him I said that.

Well, it’s almost tea time. I must go now, but I’ll leave you to read about what to do if you find an injured bird of prey, so you can avoid doing the wrong thing, unintentionally killing the bird or ruining its chance to return to the wild.

I hope to have provided irresistible details. If you need anything more, please don’t hesitate to have your people contact my people, or come see me during my office hours (listed at the website). I would love to wow you in person!

For more info
A visit to the website is a veritable virtual visit to the center, with bird photos, bios, species info, and lists of supporters who adopted each bird. But nothing comes close to meeting the live birds!
See and hear a Eurasian Eagle-Owl hooting.

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