Caring People and an Effective Telephone Chain

Caring People and an Effective Telephone Chain 

By Jennifer Taylor, Animal Care Coordinator

It is only March, and already Wild Care has received 13 patients who have been hit by cars. Last year it was well over 100. Unfortunately, most injuries from vehicle strikes are life threatening and many animals cannot recover from their wounds. But, this was not the case for a lucky Eastern Screech Owl this March!

A few weeks ago in Eastham, a young woman was driving at night. Suddenly she heard the thud of a bird hit her side window. She backtracked and found a little red owl in the road. When she approached it tried to fly away but could only flutter in circles and remained on the road.

The woman called her mother, who called Wild Care who’s after hours message was to call the Friends of Cape Wildlife. Deb Walther from FCW called me knowing I lived much closer than she to the owl in crisis. I then called the woman who struck the bird. She was very willing to stay with the owl until I could get there, which took about 20 minutes.

When I arrived, the rescue went smoothly. The owl was stunned and easily scooped up and put into an Amazon Box lined with a paper towel. The bird was plump and had no fractures. Its left eye was partially closed and its feathers were disrupted on the top of its head. It was afraid of me and acted appropriately by grabbing me with its talons and snapping its beak. All good signs that told me it may only have a mild concussion and hopefully recover quickly.

After one week in our clinic the owl was ready for release. With the help of our motion activated cameras we were able to monitor its progress. On day one he was more active during the day than at night, not normal, and only slowly walking around. The second day in, the bird was moving more quickly, but seemed to have a difficult time drinking water. The next day it began to eat our offerings, and finally, every video recorded looked like a healthy wild animal focusing on getting out of its ‘’prison’’- flying, jumping, glaring at the enemy camera and showing us it was time to go home. The bird was test-flown in one of our aviaries, and passed the test. After work and when it was dark, Stephanie brought it back to its rescue site and off it flew! Hopefully its mate was there waiting.

Owls often hunt on roadways. Rodents are easily seen on the mowed grassy edges of roads foraging for food. Easy pickings for an owl, but then cars come out of nowhere and ruin everything. At least at this moment there was a chain of caring people who activated quickly to help save this little creature.

*Video from our Arlo Camera system. The infra red light does not bother the eyes of our patients. They are often curious about the small cameras in their enclosures which allow us to spy on our patients without disturbing them! Here you can see that the owl was still a little unsteady but recovering, in our Clinic.

If you find an animal in
distress, please call us at:


Our helpline and our facility
are open EVERY DAY from
9:00 am – 5:00 pm.
We are located at the
Orleans rotary (on the Eastham side).

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