Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Alice's Biography

I was working on Alice's bio in preparation for her gig on August 1--going up to the state DNR headquarters to receive the first Great Horned Owl permit issued by the State of Minnesota. I wanted to have a bio ready to hand out to the press, and I thought you all might be interested to see what I've come up with:

Alice the Great Horned Owl bio

Late February or early March 1997 - Alice hatches in an old squirrel’s nest with her brother at the top of a 60 foot tall pine tree on Hogan Street in Antigo, WI.

Late March or early April - Falls out of nest and breaks left wing just above the elbow joint. Cared for by internationally known wildlife rehabilitator Marge Gibson of the Raptor Education Group, Inc. Wing cannot be healed well enough for flight due to location of fracture.

Spring/summer 1997 - Raised to be an education bird in Gibson’s home, around humans, so she “imprints” on humans and therefore is comfortable around them.

9 September 1998 - Gets a job working for the up-and-coming Houston Nature Center after a federal “work” permit is secured. Moves to Houston, MN to live with handler Karla Kinstler in an outdoor pen.

24 November 1998 - Begins doing public educational programs.

1 October 1999 - Alice’s first radio interview on KG Country in Winona. Chitters into microphone like a pro.

21 December 1999 - Lonely in outside pen and somewhat ill, so moved into Kinstler’s home. This arrangement become permanent.

25 May 2000 - Begins commuting to work at the temporary Houston Nature Center.

11 November 2000 - Alice’s first real, tail-cocked “hormonal” hoot.

17 March 2001 - Alice visits her nest site, rescuers, and Gibson in Antigo, WI. Seems to recognize nest tree and yard.

Summer 2001 - Houston Nature Center is constructed. Much controversy. Some adversaries talk of shooting Alice, and children are overheard in daycare playing “shoot the owl.” A local conservation officer is contacted, but says he can do nothing because Great Horned Owls are specifically not protected by state law in Minnesota. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Enforcement claims they can do nothing unless Alice is actually shot. Local law enforcement deals with the issue.

2002 - West Nile Virus sweeps across United States. Since it is fatal to Great Horned Owls, Alice now becomes an indoor bird with a perch in the nature center office.

22 February 2003 - The annual Festival of Owls, in honor of Alice’s hatch-day, begins in Houston, MN.

January 2004 - First TV interview on UPN-TV 23 in La Crosse, WI.

5 June 2004 - Alice’s first (and only!) kill--a camel cricket in Kinstler’s kitchen.

November 2004 - Alice News weblog begun. (

Spring 2005 - Testifies before the Minnesota House & Senate Environment committees for removal of Great Horned Owls from Minnesota’s “unprotected birds” list. Passes unanimously and is signed by governor. Law takes effect August 1.

Favorite food: pocket gopher heads
Hobbies: bird watching, shredding egg cartons, and “killing” articles of clothing


  1. I've finally started to read your entire blog, while I usually keep up with the latest blogs only. My word, Karla, you've been through so much with Alice and you achieved some wonderful things. Wow! You must be a determined lady. I love this curriculum vitae from Alice, especially the hobby "bird watching". You are very talented with words.

    1. I'm glad you're enjoying the blog so much. Yes, life and owls have kept me busy for sure!