An injured Great Horned Owl

An injured Great Horned Owl

O.W.L. gives injured birds new lease on life

An injured great horned owl is at the rehab centre, but is not out of the woods yet.

  • Jan. 21, 2016 9:00 a.m.

Barry Coulter

An injured great horned owl has a new lease on life, but is not out of the woods yet.

The big bird was found on a dike by the highway near Creston, with two broken wings. It had likely been hit by a car. The owl was brought to a volunteer home in Cranbrook (Sioux Browning and John Bradshaw), where it stayed two nights before being shipped to O.W.L (Orphaned Wildlife) Rehabilitation Society in Delta, B.C. Monday morning.

Pacific Coastal Airline donates transportation of these birds to from all over the province.

This Great Horned Owl was small for it’s species — only 15 inches tall. They can’t turn their eyes in their sockets so therefore turn their heads (they can turn head 270 degree). The crush of their talons is 300 psi. It would take 28 pounds of force to open their talons.

The owl’s two broken wings will make recovery tough. There is a chance it may have to be euthanized.

Rob, speaking to Townsman from O.W.L. in Delta, said both wings were broken at the radii ulna. “So it’s iffy at best, whether he’ll be able to heal enough to be able able to be released back into the wild. He must have been hit pretty hard.

“He’s pretty thin, but we’re patching him up, letting the bones heal, and we’ll see if he’ll eventually be able to fly again.

The Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society is a non-profit organization licensed through the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

The facility specializes in raptors (i.e. eagles, falcons, hawks and owls). Birds of prey patients at O.W.L. number over 400 each year and as O.W.L.’s facilities have expanded, so has the intake.

Primary care for injured birds (i.e. fluid injections, tube feeding, and initial treatment of broken bones to stabilize) is administered by staff. Veterinary care (i.e. surgery involving the pinning of fractures, radiographs and amputations) is contributed by local clinics such as Huff Animal Hospital, Richmond Animal Hospital, and Tsawwassen Animal Hospital.

Birds of prey are sent to O.W.L. from all over B.C., other provinces and the U.S. The majority of birds arrive from the Lower Mainland. Although they encourage the public to transport injured or orphaned birds to the facility, O.W.L. has a network of volunteers when pick-up is necessary.

O.W.L. is on call seven days a week, 24 hours a day. More more information on O.W.L., call (604) 946-3171, or email owlrehab@dccnet.com.