Toots the Great Horned Owl
More than one million children, in school classrooms and assembly halls, shared space with this most amazing owl. “Toots” was found, as an orphan having fallen out of a nest, and brought to Trust for Wildlife for rehabilitation. Great Horned Owls “imprint”. In the case of “Toots”, she thought she was a person-just like the people who cared for and raised her to be an adult owl. She wasn’t interested in killing any live mice or rats presented to her for food. She would have learned that from her natural owl parents. But, she did enjoy eating two or three dead mice every day.
Early on, in an attempt to return her to the wild, a large white rat was put into her large enclosure. The next morning, the rat was nowhere to be found and it looked like a great success; until “Toots” moved a bit on her perch and the rat was discovered nestled between her large feet, having spent the cold night under the protection of warm owl feathers!
“Toots” became a permanent resident, sharing space in the house of the president of Trust for Wildlife. But, she was on the road three or four days each week helping to give habitat and endangered species presentations to children in schools and to community organizations