A Simple Owl Story
By Jennifer Taylor, Animal Care Coordinator
One evening after Wild Care closed for the night, a woman found a small owl on the side of the road in Brewster. The owl was not moving, but was alive. She was able to get in touch with the Friends of Cape Wildlife. They provided instruction on picking up the bird and how to best keep it until she could bring it to Wild Care in the morning.
The woman who saved the owl, Peggy, has been a wildlife rehabilitator for many years, specializing in opossums. She made the decision to do nothing for the bird except keep it in a warm, dark and in a quiet place. This is a hard decision to make when part of you wants to examine the animal, give it fluids and make it all better right away. Stress really can kill these wild patients and must always be considered and weighed out. She did the right thing!
Peg brought the owl to Wild Care in the morning. It was a sweet little puffball of a Screech Owl and was actually in pretty good shape. It had perked up since the previous night and was standing upright well. The only obvious problem was a slightly swollen eyelid, but the eyeballs were fine. He was possibly stunned from flying into a car and was recovering. At 9:30 AM we gave him fluids and placed him into our Owl Box. The Owl Box was set up with a hollow log, a piece of evergreen and a branch.
By 11:30 AM, he was perching on the branch and looking quite well. We then placed a video camera in the habitat. The rescuer stopped by to give us the specific information of where the owl was found so we could coordinate the release. She was still very concerned and told me the entire story of the rescue. Her son was with her and asked if he could see the owl, I couldn’t allow him see the bird, but I was able to show them a video of how well he was doing. It was wonderful to be able to physically show the progress and they were both very happy to see it.
At 4:30 PM, the owl was well on the mend. I left him water and dinner-(two mice).
In the morning he was doing great! His mice were eaten, there was normal feces (always good to see) and he shred bark off the log. The videos from the past night showed him extremely active with no signs of health issues. Most of the evening was spent trying to calculate an escape plan.
At dark he was brought back to the neighborhood he was found in and released!
(All parties were so vested in caring for the owl that we failed to get a photo!)
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Wild Care has a state-of-the-art seabird therapy pool, which allows seabirds and waterfowl to exercise on running water. This will help our bird friends recover more quickly so they can get back to their watery habitats!