Admission Date: December 4, 2012
Location of Rescue: Pulaski County, VA
Cause of Admission / Condition: Orphaned
Patient Status: Current Patient
On November 29, a farmer found a young Barn Owl in the middle of a cow pasture in Pulaski County. There were no structures around to indicate the location of the owl’s nest. The young bird was cold and unresponsive, so the farmer picked up the owl and took it to a local small-animal veterinary clinic.
On December 4, the owl was transferred to the Wildlife Center. Upon admission, Dr. Rich and team found the owl to be thin and dehydrated, and there was mild bruising over the owl’s left elbow. Otherwise, no significant injuries were found. The team provided fluids to the owl and set it up in a crate in the Center’s holding room.
The Center staff were surprised to see a five-to-six week-old Barn Owl admitted to the Center in December, but in some temperate parts of the United States, Barn Owls will have second or even third clutches – sometimes before their previous clutch is fully fledged and gone.
Barn Owl chicks grow rapidly in their first 25 days of life, and by day 30, they are able to stretch and flap. Typically first flights are taken around day 55, according to the Bird of North America online.
Since young Barn Owls typically eat whole food around day 16, the rehab staff should be able to take a fairly hands-off approach with this owl. Once the rehabilitators are certain that the owl is eating on its own, they will place it in an outdoor enclosure.
Barn Owl #12-2571 was called to surrogate duty and was brought into the Center’s holding room so that the young Barn Owl may look at the older one. They are each in a travel crate, facing one another.