Injured Highway Owl Released Back to Nature

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Injured Highway Owl Released Back to Nature
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Photo: R.Holguin Navarro / California Highway Patrol

By edhat staff

The injured barn owl found on Highway 101 in December has made a full recovery and was released back to nature.

On December 5, California Highway Patrol (CHP) received multiple calls of an injured owl in the center divider near the Milpas Street off-ramp. Officer Sean Kelly was the first to respond and was later joined by Gary Paudler, a volunteer from the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network (SBWCN), who helped safely capture and transport the owl to their facility.

Paudler transported the owl to the Ojai Raptor Center where experts stated they did not believe the owl would survive its injuries from a collision with a vehicle. It sustained significant internal bleeding as well as trauma to the face, nasal cavity and eye. With a lot of care and medication, the owl started to eat on its own and made a full recovery.

On Tuesday at sunset, Officer Kelly joined wildlife rescuers to release the owl at Chase Palm Park in Santa Barbara. They opened a blue crate and encouraged the owl to fly back into nature where it soared toward some palm trees.

Local nonprofits the Ojai Raptor Center and the SBWCN depend on donations for their dedicated involvement in rescuing and rehabilitating local animals. For more information visit and

Thanks to everyone for giving a hoot about this local owl's recovery.

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 December 10, 2019: Injured Barn Owl Expected to Survive

 December 7, 2019: CHP Rescues Injured Barn Owl

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biguglystick Feb 07, 2020 11:25 AM
Injured Highway Owl Released Back to Nature

This is the BEST story I've seen in a week full of bad news! Thank you to everyone involved in helping this beautiful little owl. We are all connected. Wildlife are our neighbors. Please spread the word NOT to EVER use rodentcide to kill mice or rats! Say NO to poison, it affects all of our wild neighbors, it's a food-chain.

Bird Feb 07, 2020 08:43 AM
Injured Highway Owl Released Back to Nature

And remember, please, to not use rat/mouse poison: all of it can be harmful-to-deadly to owls and other raptors (and your cats and small dogs, too.) Especially so for a small raptor, such as a barn owl. For safe alternatives:

PitMix Feb 06, 2020 02:43 PM
Injured Highway Owl Released Back to Nature

The Audubon Society just posted something on their Facebook page talking about how the shape of their face and feather design helped them to hear and therefore hunt better. Amazing creatures!

SBCactus Feb 06, 2020 01:44 PM
Injured Highway Owl Released Back to Nature

Best news I’ve heard this week. Many thanks to all involved & Edhat for reporting. The video clip is priceless! Hoping he/she is now reunited with their concerned (& lonely) mate.

a-1582420320 Feb 06, 2020 12:23 PM
Injured Highway Owl Released Back to Nature

Love it. When we moved into our house 25 years ago, there was a barn owl living under the canopy of a neighbor's palm tree. The owl pellets would fall on our driveway, and my then 3-y.o. daughter had a great time collecting and dissecting the pellets to look at the bones of the things the owl had been eating. The owl eventually moved on, but left us with fond memories.

Red Creek Feb 06, 2020 11:56 AM
Injured Highway Owl Released Back to Nature

Thank you CHP and SBWCN, folks who rehabbed this injured owl.. According to Barn Owl Trust :"The natural diet of the Barn Owl in the wild comprises small mammals, mainly Field Voles, Common Shrews and Wood Mice. A Barn Owl will usually swallow small prey items whole. It is much better to provide small food items for Barn Owls rather than small parts of larger animals (such as pieces of meat)." In the city probably eats available mice.

a-1582420320 Feb 06, 2020 03:36 PM
Injured Highway Owl Released Back to Nature

FEB 06, 2020 11:49 AM: Yeah, no. My Chipmunks are at verifiable risk due to neighbors' killer cats. Barn owls don't kill Squirrels or Chipmunks. (Hawks, on the other hand . . .) Please note: Barn owls = nocturnal. Squirrels and Chipmunks = diurnal.

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