Max is a Great horned owl (Bubo virginianus). Great horned owls are the largest owls found in North America. If you hear the hooting “hoo, hoo, hoo” of an owl at night, you are most likely hearing a Great horned owl.
Max’s disability is that he is imprinted: he thinks he is human, or that humans are owls. As a baby, Max fell out of the nest. He was rescued and raised by humans, and because he never knew his owl parents, he never learned how to “be an owl.” Unfortunately, imprinting is irreversible.
Despite his behavioral disability, Max has become a dedicated foster-parent for other orphaned owlets, and so far has raised 76 young owlets for release back into the wild.
Max was born and adopted in 1998.
Ivan is a Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), one of the most commonly visible raptors in the Santa Barbara area. In fact, Red-tailed hawks are common throughout the United States. They are adaptable hunters, and can search for prey from atop a high perch (such as a telephone pole) or from a soar. Their wings are specially adapted to allow for easy, low-effort soaring. If you see a raptor soaring very high up, in wide circles, it may be a Red-tailed hawk.
Ivan was found next to HWY 166 near New Cuyama; he was injured by a car while attempting to catch prey running across the highway. The impact caused a wing fracture and blindness in one eye.
Ivan was a full adult with a red tail when he arrived, so his true age is unknown. Because Red-tailed hawks’ tail feathers turn red when they are 2 years old, we know he was at least 2 years old when he was adopted in 1998.
Athena is a Barn owl (Tyto Alba), known for their heart-shaped faces and pale coloration. If you hear an owl hooting at night, it is not a barn owl– they screech!
While hunting by a roadside, Athena was hit by a car. She lost her eyesight in one eye, and now has depth perception problems that cause her to miss her perches, meaning that she would also miss much of her prey.
Athena’s age is unknown – our guess is that she was around 2 years old when adopted in 2012.
Puku is a Western screech owl (Otus kennicotii), one of the smallest owl species in North America. Funnily enough, Western screech owls do not screech; instead, they make a soft burbling noise.
Puku is the only bird that is with us due to natural causes. She caught an eye infection in the wild, and it took away almost all of her eyesight, leaving her only with about 25% of vision in one eye. By the time she was found, her eyesight could not be restored.
Puku is the Chumash name for the Western screech owl: it translates into “little gray owl.” Puku has been with EITS since 2011.