11132017 Great Horned Owl
Via volunteer Bob:
John from Arcola called to report a great horned owl in his duck pen. He had been away and when he returned Monday he found the owl and two dead ducks in the pen. The owl had managed to squeeze through the fencing and had entered the enclosure. John tried to get the owl out but it refused to leave. He removed the remaining ducks. I arrived later and after meeting John, I went to evaluate the situation. I found a very disturbed, soggy, mud covered bird huddled against the fence. Attempts to reach the owl over the 3 foot high fence were futile. So we removed part of the fencing covering the pen and I stepped into very slick, slimy mud. The owl went into full defensive mode with fully extended flapping wings, snapping beak and extended talons. I was finally able to grasp its legs and extract the owl from the pen.
Meanwhile, like a manure spreader, the bird was flinging “filthy” smelly mud on me, my rescue box and John. Finally, we were able to bring the very irritated owl’s wings in and get it in the box. Needless to say, I did not do a field evaluation. Out in the open I didn’t notice the smell, but in the confines of my car it was almost unbearable. With the windows down I went to Pine Valley Vet Clinic. I called ahead to warn Pat but I received no answer. At PVVC, after I gave a warning, I wished them the best of luck, handed the bird over to the receptionist, and ran like….! At home, my smelly, muddy clothes immediately went in the hamper!
Oh, John doesn’t want the owl returned!
Initial exam: This great horned owl was strong and alert but completely encased in mud and probably, consistent with the odor, duck poop. He was given a 20 minute bath in which flat flies were flying off and going everywhere. There were no obvious injuries. He will be given a more thorough workup tomorrow when he is dry.
Day 2: This is a totally different bird today; he is extremely feisty and angry with the world (a good sign for a great horn that is being held against his will). His feathers are back to normal. Radiographs did not reveal any fractures. A CBC will be done today. He will also be creance flown today. If he flies well and his bloodwork is normal, he will be released tomorrow!