The Curious Case of the Barred Owl Who Went Bump in the Night

owl-doorwayPicture this: You follow a sidewalk to your office on clear, early October day. Most Friday mornings don’t yield big surprises, but huddled near the entrance of your building is a dazed owl. You do a double take. This is a stunningly beautiful, big bird! What’s she doing in front of your office door? But more to the point, why isn’t she moving? Those thoughts must have passed through the mind of a recent rescuer-caller to our island’s Wildlife Shelter.

Here’s what likely happened: Hunting in darkness, owls focus intensely on their prey. This Barred Owl may have had her eyes so locked on a running rodent that she didn’t navigate the cedar shake covered office building in her path. And then, boom! She crashed and fell.

A call to the local wildlife shelter mobilizes action, and the owl is soon in the hands of a licensed veterinary technician. The vet tech determines the owl suffered a concussion, with slight feather damage, but no wing breaks or dislocations. A few days of food and sleep at the shelter are in order.

After her R&R, the young owl is moved to a Flight Cage. If she has no impairments, and flies with ease, she’ll be released to the wild, or, in this case, island suburbia. Three days after the owl’s accident, I was lucky enough to witness the release of the now-mended owl back to her native, residential territory. Dottie Tison, Wildlife Photographer, captured the saga on film, complete with flight-happy ending. For a fascinating slideshow of the rescue and release, click on the link, below.

Owl rescue and release slideshow