Trixie the Barred Owl
“Trixie,” a barred owl, was stolen out of a nest in Kentucky when she was still a ball of fluff. Fish and Wildlife personnel found out about her and confiscated the little owl from the people who were holding her illegally. She had been fed hamburger and milk and bread and was in poor condition when presented to Trust for Wildlife for rehabilitation.
Within a week, Trixie was on the road to recovery eating a steady diet of mice. At about the same time that the special owl arrived on the doorstep of the Trust, the president of TFW had brought home a Lhasa Apso, just five weeks old and about the same age as the owl. What to do? Darter the dog and Trixie the owl figured it our very fast and became best friends.
Both participated in education programs throughout the Midwest, Great Lakes, and Northeast. Riding side by side, high on a special platform built up from a bench seat, they would watch with interest what was happening along the interstate highways as well as along the back roads. Truckers would go flying by at 80 mph and then suddenly ease back next to the van, pointing at the owl and dog with a strange look on their faces.
Once, while “stumping” for protection of a river corridor in northern Maine, local folks at a diner asked about the owl that had been on tv the night before. The president of TFW, went out to the van and brought the owl in to share with curious onlookers. Within seconds, friends were calling friends and pickup trucks appeared within minutes from all directions. As more and more people crammed into the diner, Trixie helped by making a presentation of owl hoots and wing flaps. At the end of the program time, as Trixie was being carried out to the van, a very large lumberman approached the TFW president and wanted to buy the owl. The response was that there were laws to protect wildlife species besides the fact she was a member of the family. The gruff response was “LAWS?” A hasty exit was in order. But, once again pointed out the necessity of public education and the valuable role played by Trixie and other wildlife species who were permanently injured or orphaned and could help through public presentations.
Trixie lived 16 owl years and Darter for 17 dog years. The world is a better place for their major contributions.