Medicine River Wildlife Center staff had great success rehabilitating injured owls this winter.
The last owl to be released back into the wild was a great gray owl on February 3rd. He was found on a street in the Spruce View area five days earlier.
Executive Director Carol Kelly said the owl was found about 10 minutes from the wildlife center’s veterinary clinic and his rescuers wasted no time in bringing him in.
“The longer he lay there in the cold, the more complications he would have. The fact that someone found him and reacted very, very quickly played a huge role in his recovery, ”said Kelly.
Fortunately, the adult male owl had no broken bones.
“We treated him and saw a clear improvement in the morning. He had a relatively mild concussion and was very quick to respond to treatment for the first two days, ”said Kelly.
He had no problem flying when he was released into one of the centre’s outdoor flying pens. He was returned to the same place where he was found so that he could reunite with his partner.
“It was a beautiful wooded area. It was a perfect habitat for gray owls. “
She said the center currently has nine owls who have recovered enough to be housed in outdoor flight pens. Another owl was in the intensive care unit but responded well to treatment.
“This year we have been very fortunate that the owls that have come to us are probably 90 percent of them that we could turn around and release, or they will be close to being released this spring.”
She said many of the center’s patients immigrated or hibernated at this time of year, so owls are a common winter patient at the center. They are in pretty good shape this winter as the weather has been mild and they require less food. The snow isn’t particularly deep, making it easier for them to find prey.
The relaxing bird is waiting for a flight to BC
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This time of year, central Albertans should have an ear for owls, Kelly said.
“This is the breeding season for Great Horned Owls. You could hear her calling back and forth. When you hear it, count the screams. If it’s four, it’s the male. If it’s five or six, it’s the woman. “
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Medicine River Wildlife Center
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