Sarasota News Leader

03/29/2013

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ASK OTUS Otus Rufous, an Eastern Screech-Owl, was born on Siesta Key and is a full-time resident there. An avid hunter, accomplished vocalist and genuine night owl, Otus is a keen observer of our local wildlife and knows many of nature's secrets. Otus will answer your questions about our amazing wildlife, but only if you Ask Otus. So please send your questions and photos to askotus@sarasotanewsleader.com. Thank you. RARE BIRD LAYS ITS EGG ON NORTH SIESTA KEY BRIDGE Dear Readers, I am shelving my epoch-making dissertation on the dire consequences of humans celebrating their Easter holiday by hiding eggs all over their properties because my editor has just rushed me the following reader question. I was just about to call it a day, but this letter was marked with enough red flags to make me believe this was 1968 and I was back in the USSR with the Beatles. So, here goes … Dear Otus, cerned about the miles-long traffic backup on the south bridge due to the north one being closed. We used to live on Siesta Key and know what traffic congestion can be like. Can we get onto the island to see the bird and could you please tell us more about it? The egg is so beautiful. I hope this gets to you in time, as we would really appreciate your answers to our questions before we miss out on this great birding opportunity. Thank you! April Narr and family in Bradenton We watched with great interest this morning's 6 a.m. all-too-brief news segment on the closing of Siesta Key's north bridge this weekend because of some rare and highly endangered bird found nesting in the bridge's grid work. They showed a photo of its beautiful green egg but not of the bird. Can you tell us about this unusual bird and do you think we might ever see one in Bradenton, or are they only in zoos? Dear April, And how did it happen to come to nest on a drawbridge here and when will the egg hatch? And how is the chick able to fledge within minutes of hatching? I thought it took several days for a bird to fledge. THE EGG My feathers all fluffed up when I received your last-minute questions because nothing makes me happier and prouder than to know there are people like you out there who have a passion for nature and the curiosity to accompany it. I hope to encourage the former and satisfy the latter for you by answering your jumbled, garbled questions in some semblance of order. First, let me start with the egg, from which birds often begin. The egg is an amazing shade of deep jadeite green mingled with nephrite shadings, varying from pale sea We were hoping to drive down to Siesta Key green to shadow-gray. The best-preserved and catch a glimpse of it but are also con- example of this egg is in the Musée des Faux

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