A Snowy owl? You bet!

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.

This snowy owl was found by a concerned citizen in a plowed field in Grant County near Sweetser, IN.  They contacted the local sheriff, who then contacted 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 tossed his coat over the owl in order to subdue it. He picked up and contained the owl, and delivered it to the Upper Wabash Interpretive Center in Andrews, IN.  It was there that Soarin' Hawk picked it up and transported it back to their ICU facility in Fort Wayne, IN. The bird was quiet but alert, and had a good grip on one of Mary's (the Soarin' Hawk volunteer who rescued the bird) talon gloves, which she was able to wiggle out of. The glove kept the bird company in the transport box for its ride back to Fort Wayne.

We thank Conservation officer Kilgore for his valuable 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.  Initial Assessment was performed by Katherine Ternet RVT and Pat Funnell DVM of Soarin' Hawk.  Her feet were caked with mud and had to be washed before we could examine them; luckily, no abnormalities were found. There was blood in her mouth and on the left side of her face.  Her feathers were in perfect condition, this is a good indication that 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.  We speculated it may have come from her trachea or from internal injuries, such as a cut in the mouth that was not obvious.  The eyes, wings, keel, vent and tail were also examined.  Bloodwork (a CBC) did not reveal any infection, anemia or dehydration. It was given subcutaneous fluids, Ivermectin for feather lice, powdered for feather lice, meloxicam for any pain and Terbinafine prophylacticly 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, we are thinking this might have been a car strike situation.  Radiographs did not reveal any fractures.

This beautiful owl will be hospitalized on a pain reliever/anti-inflammatory for presumed soft tissue injuries from being injured and prophylactically on 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. 

Intake: #02282018SNOW

For more information on Snowy Owls and to listen to their calls, go to our Species page


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