BIG Z & little z

Big Z is a Northern Hawk-Owl named Zephyr, a Bird TLC Education Bird presented and caretaken by Ellen Murphy-Welk. Little Z is a just fledged NHO that had not learned to hunt yet that was found near Chicken, Alaska. Yes, I said Chicken, Alaska.

We don't know the exact situation, how long on the ground, if it was in danger. No real info there. We do know that when Sandra Perry of Tok Bird Rehab introduced it to a live mouse, it scared the heck out of the little fellow.

But the real neat story is when it was sent out to Ellen's house. Correction, when it became a guest at Zephyr's home/mew. Cindy at TLC figured it was a good place for Little Z to go to get some mentoring. After spending a little time there, this is the update I got from Ellen ...

I introduced the juvenile to Zephyr by just leaving his kennel in Zephyr's mew overnight. The next evening, I thought I'd just let the juvenile out for a period while I watched - say an hour or two - then put it back into its safe kennel for the night. So............I let him out of the kennel and placed him on the opposite perch as Zephyr. He chattered at me a couple of times (he chatters a lot like Sebastian, so perhaps he is a male), then flew to the perch Zephyr was on. Within a minute or so, he sidled right up next to Zephyr, fluffed his feathers and seemed perfectly content. They sat that way for quite some time and Zephyr fell asleep! Needless to say, I'm not worried about Zephry being aggressive............ I left him in with Zephyr, where he remains. Today, I will try out Zephyr with a live chick, to see if the old instincts kick in and he may become a mentor to little Z.


Sebastian is a NHO caretaken and presented by my wife Ruth.

About 5 days later and a bunch of phone calls between Ellen, Cindy and Ruth about NHO's, I get this update ....

To fill you in on how he's doing: He has now nailed two live chicks and eaten them. I have two more chicks, then I plan to try out some live mice to see how he does. The little bugger is a real pig! Today, he ate most of a live chick, so I figured I would give big Zephyr a mouse. Well, before Zephyr had a chance, Little Z flew over the top of Zephyr, grabbed the mouse, then flew up to a high perch and proceeded to eat it. So.......I then brought in another mouse and set it next to Zephyr. Wouldn't you know it: Little Z finished the one he had, then flew over and stole Zephry's mouse again!! I'm thinking this bird may do just FINE out in the wild!!


Well, the plan was to send Little Z back to Tok for release. We always like to release birds back to or near where they were found. Ellen was out of town when Sandra came to Anchorage. So Sandra met up with Ruth and got Little Z on July 29th and took him back to TOK.

So if you are ever in the Chicken or Tok, Alaska area, watch your dinner plate. Little Z will be watching.

Photo Credit: Ellen Murphy-Welk / Bird TLC

Ruth Dorsey / Bird TLC