Storm Battered Screech-Owl Secures Second Chance

After the storms at the end of February raged across the North Coast, our caseload at Humboldt Wildlife Care Center saw many more battered birds. Collisions with rocks at sea, collisions with buildings – even frantic foraging during lulls in the wind and rain can cause otherwise cautious wild animals to take dangerous risks in order to eat. While we may never know what actually caused an injury, the treatment is often the same. Such was the case with this Western Screech-owl (Megascops kennicottii) who was brought in to our wildlife hospital the last week of February after being found in the middle of Murray Road, east of McKinleyville.

The small owl, presumed male, was in excellent body condition, had no broken bones, but his left eye was swollen closed. Fortunately his eye was in good shape, with just swollen tissue surrounding. So after only a few days of anti-inflammatory medicine, he was flying very well, and very stressed by captivity. While it doesn’t tell the whole story, a healthy wild animal is less tolerant of human caregivers than one who is weak, in shock, or otherwise debilitated.

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Soon, we were able to return this Owl to the neighborhood where he lives. There is no question that his chances for survival without someone who cared enough to get him help finding him was seriously jeopardized. Even an hour on the ground can be fatal for a bird, especially if the ground in question s a well used rural highway. Enjoy the photographs that tell the story of his release! Thanks for your support!

He flies very well!

Our aviary isn’t big enough for this Owl.

If he passes his release evaluation, this is the last time he’ll have to encounter the dreaded net.

Checking the progress of his wounded eye.

On the way to the release site…

Patient flying away – the best sight…

Thanks to you and your generous support, the folks who found this owl were able to find us. And thanks to the care that your support allows us to provide, there will be another Screech-owl in the Redwoods this Spring, preparing to raise another clutch of owlets with his mate. With our help, they’ll make sure there’ll always be Screech-owls in our forests.

All photos: Bird Ally X/Laura Corsiglia