Better known as the "turtle park", the George McGough Nature Park, is now also home to an abandoned and injured owl.
Matilda, a barred owl, cannot fly because of a fracture to her humerus bone that did not heal properly. The injured owl was abandoned on the doorstep of Audubon bird of prey specialist, Barb Walker, according to a news release.
When Walker heard the nature park may want an owl, she notified the park staff about a bird that she had rescued and taken to the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary. She let the park staff know the rescued owl had a very nice temperament.
Visitors can find Matilda in the cage occupied by the park's last owl- JR. The by someone in January 2011. JR had lived at the nature park for about seven years.
Barred owls are a North American native whose range spans from Canada to the southern tip of Florida. The barred owl is the only native owl with brown eyes. The owl can live up to 23 years in captivity. The name comes from stripes or “bars” on the owl's tail, the nature park said.
The nature park does not know much more about Matilda.
"We really don't know how old she is because she was dropped off at a volunteer's house - she is an adult and her blood test determined that she is definitely a female," Nature Program Specialist Joel Quattlebaum wrote.
Matilda is an education ambassador for the nature park. She's available for classroom programs and birthday parites. Call the nature center at 727.518.3047 for additional information and scheduling.
If you go:
Address: 11901 146th Street North, Largo
Park Hours: Daily 8:00 a.m. until 5:45 p.m.
Nature Center Hours: Monday- Friday 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. until 5:45 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. until 5:45 p.m.
Amenities: Nature Center, Turtle Deck, Picnic Shelters, Boardwalk, Playground, Restrooms, Barred owl enclosure.
Cost: There is no charge to go to the park.