Despite the title, no the comment was not meant toward me. And no, I did not mispell.
As I carried out the extra large dog kennel that contained a Great Gray Owl, a local creepy fisherman held open the airport's door for us. "Whatcha got there? An owl?" His buddy (there's always two) quipped, "Heh heh. Nice Hooter!" That dude can now die happy; his life is complete now that he has uttered that "infalable" phrase.
Gandolf the Great Gray Owl visited the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center as the main attraction in the lineup celebrating International Migratory Bird Day. Despite the moniker, Gandolf is female. Weighing in at just four pounds, she is all fluff. Her feathers keep her well-insulated, and she panted in the warm conference room. Owls pant with their beaks ajar, drool emitting, and the neck feather's pulsing in and out (just like a dog's belly). See the drool?
Gandolf's caretaker, Kristen, is from Bethel and now lives in Anchorage. She works to rehabilitate birds and trains those that could not be released into the wild due to their injuries. As a caretaker, she has three contained areas in her backyard. One is for Gandolf, one is for a Bard Owl, and one is for an eagle. She works with all three and travels all over Alaska with them to educate villages, sports clubs, schools, and fishermen about who to call when you find an injured bird, what not to do to prevent injuries, and respecting wild creatures.
Gandolf, herself, has an injured wing tip that prevents her from flying, but that did not keep her from giving us a show. When placed onto her perch (inside the dog kennel), she hooted for us. Personally, I was front row center (of course, where else would I be?) and took some of the following pictures of one of the prettiest hooters I have ever seen.