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An eagle owl named Kaln lived for 23 years at a sanctuary in Gloucester, England. For that whole length of time, its handlers thought it was a male. Then, according to Vincent Jones, founder and trustee of the sanctuary, it laid an egg.
The egg wasn't fertilized, Jones told Live Science, so Kaln won't get to mother a chick. But still, it was a big surprise to all of Kaln's handlers.
Owls - Males - Females - Bodies - Study
Sexing owls is tricky, because males and females outwardly have more or less identical bodies, according to a study published Jan. 24, 2008, in the Journal of Heredity. Unlike mammals and other creatures, there's no obvious difference even between their genitals.
Kaln inspects his egg.
Jones - Sanctuary - Interest - Sexes - Birds
Plus, Jones said, his sanctuary has no interest in the biological sexes of the birds it takes in. Most of them are rescued from lives as pets or captive working birds, he said. And the sanctuary has no interest in breeding captive owls, only rehabilitating them.
"We have 46 birds," Jones said. "If they have the behavior of a male, we say they're male. If they have the behavior of a female, we say they're female."
Kaln - Years - Sanctuary - Jones
Kaln never did that though in his 23 years at the sanctuary, Jones said.
"He's always shown signs...
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