In Memory of Shakkai
It was estimated that Shakkai hatched in 1994 and was raised by one of the last remaining pairs of northern spotted owls in the wild of British Columbia. Shakkai successfully fledged from the nest but as a dispersing juvenile she was hit by a truck later that year when she had flown across a well-traveled road. She was found and submitted to Monica’s Wildlife Shelter in Langley, BC in September of 1994. Shakkai suffered a concussion and a fracture to her right wing, in which she would never fully recovery from, rendering her flightless. Shakkai was deemed unreleasable because of her serious wing injury and was treated and then subsequently housed in captivity at the Wildlife Shelter until being transferred to Grouse Mountain Resort in December of 2004. Shakkai lived at Grouse Mountain for a few years until she was transferred to the Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program at Mountain View Conservation Society late in 2007.
In 2008, the first breeding season of the captive breeding program, Shakkai was paired with her mate Einstein, a young male who was only a year old at the time. The pair bonded quickly and naturally produced the first chick of the NSOBP that same year, Shania. This moment brought a lot of hope to the NSOBP and the future of the northern spotted owl in British Columbia. In 2014, the NSOBP became part of the British Columbia Conservation Foundation and Shakkai and Einstein continued to be cared for by spotted owl specialists. In 2014, Shakkai and Einstein welcomed their second chick, a male named Jay, though artificial incubation. A few years later in 2016, Shakkai’s offspring Shania had a chick of her own named Elliott through artificial incubation making Shakkai a ‘grandmother’. Shakkai ended up being a foster parent to Elliott because her parenting skills were unmatched at the time and the chick had a better chance of survival under her care. Shania then had another fertile egg in 2017 producing Dante, which she raised herself, as Shakkai was getting older. By the end of 2020, Shakkai has three grandsons with more grand-chicks to come in future breeding seasons.
Shakkai lived happily with her mate Einstein from 2008 to 2018; the pair was bonded for 10 years. Einstein was a fierce protector and a provider for Shakkai, although Einstein was 13 years younger than her. Shakkai was believed to be about 24 years of age, she lived an amazingly long life under the protection and care of the NSOBP. She was a strong and beautiful bird that had a loving personality and always impressed us. Although she couldn’t fly, her instincts and drive allowed her to live a fulfilled life in captivity, with the addition of a few ladders and specialized branch ramps throughout her enclosures that she always navigated flawlessly everywhere she went. We’ll miss seeing her every day, during our morning checks and evening feeds, and on our nest cameras. All of Shakkai's decedents and her old mate Einstein still live on here at the NSOBP in Langley.
Shakkai passed away quietly and naturally while sitting close to her nest; 2019 would have marked her 11th breeding season.
The Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program would like to thank everyone who was involved with caring for Shakkai throughout her life. Shakkai will be missed and her contribution to the future of northern spotted owls in British Columbia will never be forgotten.
Donations in honour of Shakkai to continue to help us care for the northern spotted owls at the NSOBP can be made here.