Meadville Tribune

Local News

October 10, 2012

Tiny Tamarack owl has big list of names to choose from

MEADVILLE — The public has responded with almost 100 suggestions of names for the new education eastern screech owl at Tamarack Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center.

Standing 7 inches tall, this petite bird was rescued two years ago from an Erie park after the limb holding her hidden nest was cut down. This mother bird was incubating her three newly hatched babies and suffered a wing fracture in the fall. Treated for her injuries at Tamarack Wildlife Center, the mother raised her babies at the center until they were able to be released back in the Erie area, but she is not able to fly well enough for release and is entering a new life as an education bird living permanently at the center.

She will join the other education birds at Tamarack in providing programs to schools, clubs, camps, churches and other groups, so the public can discover one of Pennsylvania’s smallest owls. The public was invited to propose names for this avian ambassador, and the response has been tremendous.

Wonderful names have been nominated by school classes ranging from first grade to high school, scout troops, Audubon Society members and interested individuals. Some names refer to the safe home this owl has found at Tamarack: Tammy, Tamara, Haven.

Other names such as Gridley or Gridley Gal refer to the owl being found in Gridley Park of Erie. Many call on the beauty of this petite owl as reasons to suggest names such as Tabitha (Hebrew for beauty), Bella (Spanish for beautiful) and Maria. Some are inspired by the owl’s natural history to suggest names such as Midnight, since owls are nocturnal, or Sylvan, referring to the forests these birds use for nest sites.

The horse-whinney call of a screech owl inspired the name Winnie. Her eyes captivate many to suggest names such as Iris, Peepers and Wynken.

People struck by the bravery and resilience of this bird suggested names such as Thunderheart “because of her strong heart and courage to survive and protect her babies”; and Sparky because “she has the will to survive. You can tell by her bright sparkly eyes and the spark it took to contend with the aftermath of her accident,” said a statements submitted with those two entries.

Some wordsmiths played with the word owl to suggest Owlivia and Owlgretto.

One creative name proposed by an elementary school was TENU, “because each letter stands for something the owl does. The T stands for the treetops where owls spend most of the day sleeping. E stands for the evening sky which is when they fly around hooting and screeching. N is for the night time vision the owls use to see among the dark nights. Lastly, U stands for under the stars which is when the owls are flying over our heads.”

After difficult deliberation, five finalist names have been chosen for the public to vote on. These are: Luna, Athena, Willow, Lilith and Sylvia. Individuals are invited to vote once for their favorite on the center’s website: tamarackwildlife.org or by U.S. mail. All votes must be received by Oct. 20.

The public is invited to meet this special bird Oct. 21 at the center’s open house from 1 to 3 p.m., when there will be in-person voting from 1 to 2:15 — and her new name will be announced at 2:30.

For those interested in a program where they can meet this owl and other of the center’s education birds, check out the education page on the center’s website or call (814) 763-2574.

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