For those of you around the Auburn-Opelika area, the Southeastern Raptor Center’s own “guardian” barn owls will be on view Sept. 24 beginning at 5 p.m. at the Carmike Wynnsong 16 theaters before the movie release of Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.
The Southeastern Raptor Center, part of the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, rehabilitates injured, ill, or orphaned birds of prey.
“Although it is one of the most widely distributed species of owls, the Raptor Center does not see the barn owl as frequently as other common owl species,” said raptor rehabilitation specialist Liz Crandall. The barn owl is known by many other names which may refer to the appearance, call, habitat, or eerie silent flight: white owl, ghost owl, barnyard owl, night owl, or rat owl.
The barn owl is a medium-sized owl with a white or mostly white underside. It feeds primarily on small vertebrates, and the vast majority of its food consists of small rodents. “This species is a benefit to us since their diet is 90-94 percent rodents,” said Crandall.
Annually the center takes in between 200 and 275 birds of prey from across the Southeast. Birds are generally brought by members of the public, a network of Southeastern rehabilitators and educational facilities, and state and federal agencies.
Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is a computer-animated family film based on the book series Guardians of Ga’Hoole by Kathryn Lasky. The public is invited to come see the Southeastern Raptor Center’s resident barn owls and to learn more about this species before seeing the film. All birds used in educational programs are permanent residents that are non-releasable due to prior injuries or human imprinting.
The Carmike Wynnsong 16 is located at 2111 East University Drive in Auburn. For more information, contact the College of Veterinary Medicine at 334-844-3698, vetmed.auburn.edu/raptor.