connecting to nature

Barn Owl Project


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  • 3 Barn Babies
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Barn Owl Breeding

Hawk Creek has generated profound and visible effects on the local environment since its inception in 1987 through its many conservation efforts. Our award-winning, internationally recognized barn owl breeding program is the most successful breeding and release of the North American barn owl in New York State. TheInternational Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE) gave Hawk Creek its annual Conservation award for our efforts and success in raising the population of the single most threatened bird of prey in the state. The raptor center at Hawk Creek has released over 170 owls to date.

In 1994, Hawk Creek began a barn owl breeding project and restoration program. Barn owls are the rarest raptor in Western New York, and their numbers are decreasing world wide. Unfortunately, they had become completely extinct from our region of the state. These magnificent silent hunters were once found on every continent (except Antarctica).Their role in nature is to reduce the rodent population, which destroys crops and spreads disease to humans. Now this “friend to the farmers” is rapidly disappearing. In some states, it is considered endangered. In New York, the barn owl is currently on the special concern list.We began in 1994 with the acquisition of a pair of barn owls from Arizona, named “Screamer” and “Autumn.” Surprisingly they bred successfully in 1995! We also set up a second pair of barn owls in 1996, “Athena” and “Artemis” for additional breeding at our raptor center. A volunteer veterinarian tends to three young hatchlingsOur project has attracted attention worldwide. The International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE) awarded us with their annual Conservation Award for the barn owl project. Other members of this organization include such prestigious institutions as the London Zoo, Busch Gardens, Disney, and the Foundation to Protect America’s Eagles. In addition, Columbia Tri-Star arrived at our center to film a story about our breeding project. The documentary features ten high school students from throughout New York state visiting our facility. These ten students, and their teacher, were lucky enough to able to release 11 barn owls. The special, “New York Expeditions”, aired on PBS stations throughout New York State.On April 20, 2002, during our Earth Day celebration, Hawk Creek released its 100th barn owl into the skies of Western New York. Barn owls bred at Hawk Creek are also now are part of educational programs at the Denver Zoo, and at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Our barn owls’ babies were also featured onLate Nitewith Conan O’Brien.

Husky Injection employees release five feisty barn owls during Hawk Creek’s 11th Annual Wildlife Weekend. Steve Morris had the dubious honor of releasing one of the feistiest barn owls we have seen! Special thanks go to Husky Injection Molding for their support of the project.

“Free!”Everyday, 137 species become extinct. This is the highest rate of extinction since the age of the dinosaurs. We here at Hawk Creek are making a difference. Through our work we will protect, preserve and restore the fascinating barn owl in this delicate world that we have borrowed from our children.