Meet Punta Gorda’s One-of-a-Kind Resident, a White Screech Owl
I’d like to introduce you to Punta Gorda, Florida’s one-of-a-kind resident, Luna. He’s a male leucistic screech owl now living at the Peace River Wildlife Center. A what? Screech owls are typically gray or reddish brown and this little guy is white. He’s not albino but has leucism which is a genetic mutation preventing melanin pigment in the bird’s feathers.
Leucistic vs. Albino – There is a Difference
Leucistic birds have normal colored eyes, bills, feet and legs and have normal eyesight. Albino birds have reddish or pale pink eyes, bills, feet and legs and have poor eyesight. Due to a genetic mutation melanin (what gives color) is not produced I the body.
How Luna Ended Up at the Peace River Wildlife Center
Luna was found as a fledgling in May by a hiker near the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center in Southwest Florida. PWRC attempted to return him to his nest but could not locate one. Because of the owl’s leucism, he most likely won’t find a mate and won’t survive in a natural habitat because he has no camouflaging capabilities but he’ll definitely be well taken care of at Peace River Wildlife Center.
I should add he’s a very rare bird and volunteers at the center told me I will probably never see one again.
You can visit Luna daily between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Peace River Wildlife Center, a facility dedicated to the rescue, care, rehabilitation and protection of native small wildlife that has been injured, abandoned or orphaned. If it’s raining, call ahead. Donations are accepted and greatly appreciated since this is a501-(c)(3) non-profit facility.
Peace River Wildlife Center
3400 Ponce de Leon Parkway (old W. Marion Ave.)
Punta Gorda. Florida 33950
phone: (941) 637-3830 fax: (941) 637-3857