Great Horned Owl: SB Wildlife Care Network's Patient of the Week
Patient #52 of 2021: Great Horned Owl
Wildlife rehabilitation is demanding work that requires time, energy, and a strong team. From citizen rescuers and volunteer transporters to animal care staff and partner organizations, it truly takes a village to do this work.
Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network's 52nd patient was a great horned owl who came from a ranch in Santa Ynez. An employee of the property found this bird to be injured after it seemingly collided with the side of a barn. After the employee called the SBWCN Helpline, the bird was safely transported down to the Center. Upon examination, the owl was determined to have a broken right humerus, along with some minor abrasions and small areas of retinal detachment.
SBWCN's veterinarian, Dr. Avery Berkowitz, performed surgery and was able to successfully pin the fracture. Over the next month, the team continued to monitor the owl's recovery and provide supportive care for both the surgery site and eye injuries. Once the pins were removed and the fracture had healed, patient #52 was ready for the next step of its recovery.
Ojai Raptor Center (ORC) is a wildlife rehabilitation center that specializes in birds of prey and is a partner to SBWCN. Luckily for this bird, they stepped in to handle the last portion of its recovery! The ORC team took over caring for the owl and provided it with pre-release flight conditioning in their larger aviaries. The owl stayed another month with ORC until it was ready to be out on its own.
When the patient was ready to be released, it was transported 60 miles from Ojai back to the Santa Ynez Valley by one of SBWCN's volunteer transporters. Thanks to the citizen rescuer, the owl was released at the same ranch where it was found and flew into a nearby tree with ease. It took two months, dozens of people, and hundreds of hours, but this great horned owl was able to have a second chance at life!
If you’d like to support Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network’s efforts to save local wildlife, visit www.sbwcn.org/donate.