Little Red


Midge (Big Red)

Durham's small size, rufous color and big yellow eyes make him a favorite at every program. But make no mistake. Even though he looks cute, he's a fierce bird of prey. If you were a little mouse, frog or little bird - you would be terrified!


Barred Owl

Durham is an adult red-phase Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio). He was hit by a car and suffered a broken humerus, the large bone in his upper wing. Our wonderful veterinarians were able to repair it surgically but the broken wing will always be shorter. Durham will never be able to fly well so he will remain in captivity in the Secret Garden.

Durham shares his home with his good friend, Springer, a gray-phase Eastern Screech Owl. 

Midge is an adult male Red-Tailed Hawk. Midge was hit by a car as a juvenile and suffered injuries on the right side of his body. Owl Moon Raptor Center took excellent care of him and he is now able to fly normally. Unfortunately he remains blind in his right eye. A hawk with only one good eye doesn't have the depth perception he needs to capture prey, easily loses sight of prey that flees to his blind side and is more likely to fly into obstacles. His chance of survival in the wild would be slim.

Midge has responded well to falconry training. He is well behaved and a joy to watch. Although he will never be a champion hunter, this training has allowed to spread his wings and do many of the things he would do naturally in the wild giving him an excellent quality of life.

He remains very shy around people but will become more comfortable over time. The name "Midge" doesn't seem like it would suit an awesome bird like this red-tailed hawk but it was given to him by Owl Moon and somehow seems just right.

Eastern SCreech Owl

Red-Shouldered Hawk

Red-Tailed Hawk

Little Red is a Red-Shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus). As a nestling, he was attacked by a predator - possibly an owl, larger hawk or even one of his siblings. He has recovered from his injuries except for permanent damage that left him blind in his left eye. Hawks need good vision in both eyes to survive in the wild so he can't be released.  

Red-Shouldered Hawks are very vocal. If you’ve met him at an event, you know he always has a lot to say!

Like most hawks, his juvenile plumage – the plumage for his first year of life – was very different from his adult plumage. Click through the pictures on the left to see his transition from a mottled brown fledgling, to mismatched teenager, and finally to strikingly beautiful adult. Why this dramatic change? It’s possible that the juvenile plumage gives hawks some protection after they fledge. Young birds move through territories already occupied by Red-Shouldered Hawks as they try to find their own place in the world. Their feathers may be a signal to adults that they are not a threat and should be allowed to pass unchallenged.

Like Midge (aka Big Red), he'll be trained for falconry and allowed to fly free to hunt. As a falconry bird, he'll have a very good quality of life as close as possible to a wild bird.

Red-shouldered hawks are very vocal and Little Red is no exception. He makes his presence known with his loud kee-ahh call - usually repeated many times. I think everyone within a few miles can hear him. He has certainly attracted the attention of a local pair of adult red-shoulders who return his call and circle over his enclosure. As an education ambassador for his species, I'm sure he'll have a lot to say!

Durham was a patient at Owl Moon Raptor Center before coming to the Secret Garden. We thank everyone at Owl Moon for the excellent care they gave him!

Scarlett is an adult female Barred Owl. Barred owls are common in Northern Virginia. They often hunt along roads, looking for the small mammals that are drawn there trash discarded along the roadsides. Since they hunt at night, drivers have little warning before an owl appears in their headlights and then it's too late. Like most owls that come into rehabilitation, Scarlett was hit by a car and suffered multiple injuries. She was well cared for by Owl Moon Raptor Center but the growth plate in her beak was permanently damaged. Her beak will never grow straight and without frequent trimming she would be unable to eat. In all other ways she is a strong, healthy owl. As a falconry bird she will continue to get the trimming she needs and, as her training proceeds, she will be able to fly and hunt. But she will always remain in captivity.

Our Birds