Big, yellow eyes are the first thing you notice when you meet Luna, a spectacled owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata) at the Belize Raptor Center. Like others of her species, Luna’s breast is a bright white color, leading to a black crown with white patches around her eyes and neck. The back of these owls can range from a dark-brown color to black while the chicks are all white, with black markings around their face. Luna was injured in a barbed-wire fence, and although the center has restored her to almost-full health, she’s unable to hold her wings out for very long making it impossible to fly.
Biology of Spectacled Owls
These owls spend most of their lives high in the trees, usually staying in the top one-third of the canopy, and they tend to live a solitary life, only meeting for mating. Spectacled owls are birds of prey, scanning from the tops of the trees and plunging to catch small nocturnal mammals, frogs, or birds. They are considered to be the most dominant birds of prey in the rainforest, as well as one of the largest.
More on the Belize Raptor Center
Birds of prey are some of the fiercest and strongest animals on earth, however, even they can become injured or sick. The Belize Raptor Center takes in these raptors and nurses them back to health, if they can’t be released into the wild the birds are kept at the center in the sanctuary. The raptors cared for at the center do more than just live comfortably, educational programs on the conservation and importance of these raptors is facilitated by the center at schools and libraries country-wide. During these programs the students are exposed to a short lesson on what makes a raptor, a “raptor” and then play games or search through owl pellets to see what they have been eating. In the future, the center hopes to open a visitor center allowing the sanctuary to be used as a “living-classroom” for students and teachers alike and provide more bird-centered activities.
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Article by Britany Devasure, Photos by Inspire EdVentures LLC