02282018 Snowy Owl

Location of Rescue: 
Grant County, IN
Admission Date: 
Cause of Admission: 
Potential car strike
UPDATE: 03/24/2018 - After a little more than 3 weeks of food, medicine, rest and recuperation, we creance flew this snowy owl on March 19th and that session showed us that she was ready to head home to the arctic tundra. Everyone met at the ICU facility where we moved her to a transport box for the ride to the release sight. We faced her into the wind and just like that, she was gone. Wishing her godspeed as she heads home - with a little piece of everyone’s heart here at Soarin’ Hawk.

Via volunteer Mary:

I received a call from Bob asking if I could travel to Andrews, IN to pick up a snowy owl.  A snowy owl? You bet!  You see, snowy owls are rare around these parts.  They live in the arctic tundra and while some might migrate south in search of food, this winter season there has been an “irruption” of snowy owls, so they have been seen more frequently in the state.  Here is the link to a great article from the Audubon on this subject:  www.audubon.org/news/hold-your-bins-another-blizzard-snowy-owls-could-be-coming    

This snowy owl was found by a concerned citizen, not far off of the road, in Grant County near Sweetser, IN.  They contacted the local sheriff, who then contacted Indiana Conservation Officer, Corporal Kilgore.  When he arrived on the scene and approached the owl, it started to hop away into a plowed field.  The CO actually had to toss his coat over the owl in order to subdue it.  He then placed it in a container and delivered it to the Upper Wabash Interpretive Center in Andrews, IN.  It was there that I picked it up and transported it back to Soarin’ Hawk’s ICU facility in Fort Wayne, IN.  He was quiet, but alert and had a good grip on one of my talon gloves, which I was able to wiggle out of, and it kept him company in the transport box for his ride back to Fort Wayne.

He was assessed at the ICU and was found to be dehydrated, had feather lice, and dried blood on the left side of his head close to the beak.  His feet were caked with mud, after trying to flee from Corporal Kilgore, and had to be washed before we could examine them and luckily no abnormalities were found.  The eyes, wings, keel, vent and tail were also examined.  He was given subcutaneous fluids, Ivermectin and powder for feather lice, Meloxicam for any pain, and Terbinafine prophylactilly for Aspergillosis.  The owl was placed in a large ICU crate and offered food and water for the night.  Given the small amount of dried blood on the head and the fact that it was seen near the road, more than likely he was grazed by a car.  Dr. Funnell will take the owl in to Pine Valley Veterinary Clinic in the morning for radiographs.

We thank Conservation officer Kilgore for his invaluable assistance with this rescue.  Our partners in the field help us out tremendously and we couldn’t do everything that we do without them!


Initial assessment and update following intake:
The adult female snowy owl presented quiet but alert when brought in for triage.  The initial ssessment was performed by Vet Tech Katherine Ternet and Pat Funnell, DVM of Soarin' Hawk.  Her feet were covered in mud, and there was blood in her mouth and on the left side of her face; otherwise her feathers were in perfect condition.  This is a good indication she was not on the ground long.  She was a good weight, another indication she had not been grounded for long.  There was no obvious source of the blood in her mouth and on her head, but it may have come from her trachea from internal injuries or from a cut in the mouth that was not obvious.  Blood work, a CBC, did not reveal any infection, anemia or dehydration. Radiographs did not reveal any fractures.

Diagnosis: Possibly just grazed by a car

This beautiful owl will be hospitalized on a pain reliever/anti-inflammatory for presumed soft tissue injuries, and prophylactically given an anti-fungal medicine (snowy owls are extremely susceptible to Aspergillosis).  Every day she will be reassessed to determine if any other problems emerge.  If all goes well and she eats well and flies well when tested in a week or so, she will be released.

Journal Gazette Article of Snowy Owl Release

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