Monday, September 29, 2008

Friday September 26th, 2008 Great Horned Owl Rescue call.

(Click on any image to enlarge) On her return jog back home she looked over at where she had seen the owl. Sure enough, it was still there. It hadn’t moved an inch. It seemed to be struggling in the foliage. It tried to fly but seemed exhausted or injured.
Although this owl seemed like it was well camouflaged in the brush,the Good Samaritan could tell something was wrong.

She ran home and had no luck finding any emergency services that were willing to help. She stumbled across our phone number and was able to get thru to us. We made calls to local Fish and Wildlife officers but no return calls.
It was now past 6:30pm and this Good Samaritan could not bear the thought that the owl would fall prey to coyotes or the possibility of it climbing up onto the road, so she called us again and begged us to pick it up.
When I first examined the bird, it was obvious that it had suffered a head injury. If you look closely in a later pitcure you’ll notice the right eye is closed.
I believed it to be a female juvenile Great Horned Owl that flew that into the bushes full of stickers at least 24 hours prior. She was struggling to get out of the sticker patch, but may have run out of energy to free herself.
Upon further examination I noticed that the owl had over two dozen briar stickers about 1 inch long, completely covering her body. And...she had an obvious head injury.
(Click on image and look closely at the left eye).
I also removed eleven stickers from between the wings and the body of the bird. This seemed to be the main problem at first. The stickers acted like Velcro tape preventing this bird from opening its wings.
In addition she was very tired, weak, dehydrated and seemed very hungry.
If you look closely below, you will notice one of the owl’s eyes is extremely dilated. From my experience, her eyes showed that she had apparently suffered a head injury.
It took over 30 minutes to separate the thick stickers, grass and branches that held her wings to her body. Then she was able to stretch her wings.
Then after a brief rest…
... and the removal of most of the stickers, she was immediately hydrated.

(Click on image to enlarge)

I removed the remaining stickers
and she took a rest.

Then she took a short nap before being transported to her new restaurant.

Now she was happy to see a familiar face.
"A field mouse!"
She instantly gobbled it down.

Then another one.
Then a third mouse was, going, going, Gone…

Ahaaaaw.. Fresh warm chicken liver, followed by chicken hearts.

At one A.M she was happy to gobble up everything new on the menu.

This was followed by yet another familiar face...
a fresh warm mouse to top off the meal.

And another...

At three a.m. she was happy to have supper delivered.

At five a.m. room service was right on time.

At 8:00am I received a return call from a wildlife veterinarian who concurred with my diet and treatment. We arranged to have this female owl delivered to their facility on Sunday morning, after it could regain enough strength for traveling.

8:00pm - this two-hour feeding ritual started again.

Midnight's menu was of a combination of chicken hearts and fresh mice.

This menu was continued from 8p.m. 10p.m. midnight then 2am, 4am, 6am and 8am.

Larger portions this night...

It seemed like she winked at me...

At 8:00 am Sunday morning the owl was transported to the doctor’s office. At 10:00 pm I received the diagnosis that it was obvioust to the doctor that this owl was a victim of a recent fire. The doctor discovered that the bird had numerus burnt feathers and smelled of smoke. This explains why the bird appeared to be a juvenile.

In addition, this bird’s eye injury was at least a year old.

It will take some time in rehabilitation until this fair feathered friend can fly again.
If you look close at this photo, you will notice that this owl is missing its right horn feathers from the fire.
(Their ears are used for hunting & hearing prey).
Many thanks to the alert jogger, rescue volunteers and a dedicated vet. This is another life saved.Farewell my courageous and trusting fair- feathered friend....