Recent News >

Southeastern Raptor Center Offers Owl Naming Opportunity for Valentine’s Day

By Ben Hohenstatt, Journalism Intern

Auburn, Alabama —

The Southeastern Raptor Center is asking, “Whoo Loves You?” by offering a unique, one-of-a-kind Valentine gift for auction.

For the first time ever, the center is offering the opportunity to name its newest resident, an Eastern Screech-owl, in a Valentine’s Day gift package.  Also included is a private tour of the education center to meet SRC residents including Nova, Spirit, and Tiger, a photo and certificate.

The auction is open now and will close Feb. 13. To bid, go to

“This will be the first time we have offered the public the ability to name one of our residents,” said Eva Mathews, a technician at the Southeastern Raptor Center. “It’s special to tour the Southeastern Raptor Center, see the all the birds housed her and learn about our mission,” Mathews said. “It’s a neat date, and they get to name the owl.”

Mathews said the money raised through the auction will support the center’s rehabilitation mission. “The money will support animal care and treatment.”

The yet-to-be-named owl is an adult screech owl, its gender is unknown and it was found Nov. 20, 2013, in Thomaston, Ala., near the side of a road. Veterinarians believe it was struck by a vehicle.

The owl was found bleeding slightly from the ear and suffered an injury which caused the owl’s eye to lose pressure and deflate, and was brought to the Southeastern Raptor Center for treatment.

Dr. Jamie Bellah, professor and head of the Department of Clinical Sciences at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and director of the Southeastern Raptor Center, performed surgery on the bird. “I had to remove its eye,” adding that the surgery relieved the owl of pain.  “Obviously, we cannot release it after that, but we can keep him as a foster owl.”

Mathews said foster birds play an important role at the center. The bird will remain as wild as possible in captivity, and this will allow it to teach orphaned birds how to survive.  “When we have orphans the owl can help raise them,” Mathews said. “It’s an important job no human can do as well as a bird.”

The Southeastern Raptor Center at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine has a three-fold mission of rehabilitation, education and conservation. Each year more than 300 injured birds of prey are brought to the center for rehabilitation.