I like plants, especially unusual ones. This year I started a lot of ornamentals from seed, and one of them was the castor bean plant, which has been designated by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most poisonous plant in the world.
The danger comes from the seeds, which contain a protein called ricin. It only takes about three seeds taken orally to kill a human adult. Of course, it’s also the source of castor oil which is used medicinally for many things.
It might be a killer, but this plant is also highly interesting to look at. It’s sensitive to frost, so acts like an annual in this climate and grows extremely quickly, forming gigantic red and green leaves, small flowers and spiky seed clusters. I have one plant in the ground which will probably die back soon, but I also planted one in a pot so I could bring it inside and try to keep it alive over the winter. Should be interesting.
I was lucky enough to get sent out on an owl rescue call today, where I captured this adorable little guy. He’s a fully-grown, great-horned owl.
He is very underweight and seems to have had head trauma, as one of his eyes is not looking or working right. Fortunately both his wings seem to be in good flapping order and he was pretty alert and took a tidbit of quail from me.
We gave him some fluids and some pain relief and he will be allowed to recuperate in a warm enclosure. Hopefully he’ll make it through the first 24 hours and start eating and recovering soon!
(Update: Sadly his head trauma was too severe and this little guy had to be humanely euthanized. Sorry little buddy.)
Here you can see my amazing boyfriend manning the amazing Harris’ hawk, Paco!
Paco is one of my favorite birds at the Centre, he has such a gentle and curious personality and loves to make small talk with me. I was so happy to introduce him to a human I also care deeply about! Are these a couple of cool boys or what?