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Rare Owl a Nationals Fan (or at Least a Manatees)

By Jim Dietrich -- April 03, 2012 11:37 AM EDT


When you go to a Washington Nationals spring training game - or a Brevard County Manatees game in the summer - you're likely to find the newest addition to the team. No, it's not a new shortstop, pitcher, or even a right-fielder, even though right-field is where the latest attraction roams.

It's an owl that has a strange need for the spotlight.

According to Melbourne's "Florida Today" newspaper, the owl took up residence by letting an osprey build the nest on the perch, then proceeding to evict the bird so it could roost there. When I visited the stadium last week, you could clearly see the bird of prey and stuff of marsupials' nightmares on the platform built for ospreys to move their home off of lights, signs, and other high places man has made in Florida over the years; it's a common sight throughout the Sunshine State.

Since, like ospreys, the owl is a protected species, officials are banned from disturbing the nest in any manner. The platforms are built in-hopes that, since they have super-accurate internal navigation skills that allow them to find their nest a year later, the birds will build their home in a less-intrusive place the next year. If it wasn't for the demanding owl, however, the ospreys would have stayed in their new home. Since he took over, though, the ospreys are back to the light post, and the Nationals and Manatees are forced to play in-front of a few non-paying guests.

At least the stadium won't have a rodent problem anytime soon.


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