It’s been three weeks since we took in a rather rare patient. Great gray owls are native to our area but they are also very elusive. Patient 12-922 was checked in on October 22, with injuries consistent with being hit by a car. The great gray was disoriented and dehydrated. Animal Care staff initially treated the bird with fluids and pain medication in the ICU at Wildlife Images. The patient began to eat and as his behavior improved our clinic staff noticed a slight droop in his wing.
At that point, staff conducted further testing including an onsite x-ray and veterinary consult. We discovered there was a small fracture in his coracoid bone.
A gentle gas anesthesia is used on patients like this to ease the stress of exams and take x-rays in the matter of a few short minutes. The medical tape used to position their body comes easily off feathers!
To help him recover from this shoulder injury he was prescribed three weeks of cage rest and just started exploring a flight enclosure this weekend. This space will allow him to build his strength as our clinic staff keeps an eye on his eating habits, flight skills and stress level. Our hope is that this beautiful owl will soon be ready for release back into the wild!
While they like things cold – with a habitat range far into Canada, this species is native to our mountain areas too. Great gray owls are not only incredibly elusive but also boast the longest tail – relative to body size – out of any owl in the world. Learn more about great gray owls by visiting our friends at the Audubon Society.