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THE RIVER - AUGUST 14, 2015
CROW Case Of The Week:
Who Cooks For You?
by Patricia Molloy
At 20 inches tall, with a four-
foot wingspan, the barred
owl (Strix varia) is an
imposing hunter. During the day,
these owls hide in dense foliage
– their brown and gray plumage
makes them masters of camou-
flage – and emerge at night to
feed a wide variety of prey, which
they hunt from a favorite perch.
Despite their impressive size, one
must be alert to catch a glimpse of these owls; they
can go completely unnoticed as they fly noiselessly
through the dense canopy of the woods or snooze in
the cavity of a tree.
To hear a barred owl is a more easily attainable
endeavor, as they are highly vocal and known for mak-
ing many calls: the begging calls of nestlings, ascending
hoots and caterwauling. The most recognizable one is
the nine syllable call “hoo, hoo, too-HOO; hoo, hoo,
too-HOO, ooo” which is often phrased as “Who cooks
for you? Who cooks for you, all?”
In late June, a barred owl was found on the ground
in front of a tractor supply store in Alva. The good
samaritan who found the raptor called CROW to report
the rescue and arrange for delivery. Upon presenta-
tion, the female owl – patient #15-1923 – was severely
depressed, dehydrated, malnourished and had labored
breathing. Additionally, an injury was palpated in its left
wing, so the bird was anesthetized to allow for radio-
graphs to be taken. The result: a fractured right clavicle
and sternum (part of the shoulder girdle) and a fractured
fibula in the left leg.
“She’s really good at force feeding, so we had to
continue with that (for awhile). Now she’s eating on
her own. Her weight is better than it was at admission
with good body condition,” explained Dr. Molly. “She’s
sedated for physical therapy every three days, and she
seems to be doing fairly well. We took radiographs
(again) and the wing seems to be healing pretty well. She
does have a little bit of stiffness in that wing, which is to
be expected, so we’re just going to focus on PT for now
and reassess her wing wrap when we know more about
how she’s doing,” she concluded.
After approximately one month of care inside the
clinic’s ICU ward, the owl’s wing injury had improved
enough that the wrap was removed. The patient was
relocated to an outdoor flight enclosure on CROW’s
secluded property where she has enough space to
practice flying. When Dr. Heather is convinced that it
is strong enough to survive on its own, the owl will be
transported back to its home in Alva and released.
CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Inc.)
is a non-profit wildlife hospital providing veterinary care
for native and migratory wildlife from our local area.
The hospital accepts patients seven days a week from 8
a.m. to 5 p.m. Mail donations to PO Box 150, Sanibel,
FL 33957. Call 472-3644 or visit: www.crowclinic.org.
The barred owl, patient #15-1923, was recently moved to a secluded outdoor enclosure on CROW’s wooded campus
by Cynthia A.
1976) was some-
thing of a legend
as a fisherman
in the waters off
Fort Myers in
the 1950s and
Reproduced for you here are chap-
ters from his unfinished Fisherman’s
Paradise, an account of his fishing
adventures that are often hilarious
and always instructional. It is pre-
sented by Williams’ daughter, Cynthia
Williams, a freelance writer and editor
living in Bokeelia on Pine Island.
Chapter XII Part IV
One evening, “after the blood-drip-
ping sun had sunk beneath the darken-
ing horizon,” Berry is fishing with his
friend, Ronnie Long, under the “new”
Sanibel Bridge (completed in 1963).
I was using a large wire leader, big
hook and a fat, juicy pinfish, hoping
to get a big cobia. We hadn’t done too
well that day, and I was about to suggest
going in, when something pulled at my
pinfish. I left my line there, only to feel a
second tug a few seconds later. After four
more tugs, I disgustedly figured it was an
old gaff top sail cat, too small to get any
large bait. I started reeling my line in, sug-
gesting to Ronnie that we go.
Whatever was down there had a dif-
ferent notion. The fifth time he lunged, I
thought I had a big cobia. But from the
way he plowed, I knew it wasn’t a cobia,
for they make a wide, sideways sweep.
I didn’t know what in the heck I had,
but after putting shoulder and back to
my rod, I soon came up with the gosh-
darndest tripletail I’d ever seen. Ronnie
and I weighed him out at a mite over 10
pounds. From then on, all Ronnie wanted
to do was fish for tripletail.
On subsequent trips, we tried under
the causeway, at various markers, and at
McIntyre’s Creek – all without luck. Then
one day I suggested that we go up to the
pilings at Blind Pass. Charter boat skip-
per, Buck Fernandez, had told me he’d
been getting big snook and reds there.
Ronnie usually fishes cautiously, not
too close to the pilings, but since we
weren’t catching anything, I told him to
throw his line up against the piling.
“Throw your own line up there. I don’t
wanta have to go rigging up lines.”
“Okay. I’d rather lose a few lines and
have a chance of catching something
than fish in safe water and get nothing.”
I plunked one down, shrimp-baited,
right against the piling. Two minutes later,
I was tugging at one end and something
was tugging at the other. By sheer luck,
I won out, coming in with a six-pound
At this, Ronnie threw all caution to the
wind and, with his monstrous spinning
outfit, cast a small pinfish next to the pil-
ing. He was soon reeling in a burrowing
tripletail. In rapid succession, he caught
two more, while I couldn’t get a bite. He,
of course, commenced lecturing me about
the superiority of spinning gear over my
Penn Peerless #9 free-spool reel.
“Who caught the first one, Ronnie?”
“Who caught the most, Berry Boy?
“Who brought you to this spot? And
another thing, you haven’t caught any-
thing the last three trips you’ve been on
And so on it went, mouthing back and
forth, all the way in.
To be continued next week...
Sanibel Causeway in 2013 photo courtesy of Wanda Extrom via Weather Underground
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