Barred Owl #19-0076

February 2, 2019
May 15, 2019
Rescue Location
Albemarle County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Hit by vehicle
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On the evening of February 1, a driver observed a Barred Owl hit the windshield of the car in front of her; the driver was able to capture and contain the owl and brought it to the Wildlife Center the next morning, where it was admitted as patient #19-0076.

The veterinary team found that the owl had blood in its mouth, and an eye examination revealed that the owl had a retinal tear and retinal detachment in its left eye. Radiographs didn’t show any fresh fractures or dislocations, though the team noted that the owl had an old, healed fracture of its right ulna. Blood work confirmed that the owl was mildly anemic.

The owl started a course of medicated eye drops to reduce inflammation and pain in the eye. Fortunately, the globe of the bird’s eye did not sustain an injury and did not need to be removed.

On February 14, the owl was moved to a small outdoor enclosure, then was moved to a larger flight pen on February 22. The owl is currently housed in FP4, along with another Barred Owl patient, #19-0022. Keep an eye out for them on Critter Cam!

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Patient Updates

Barred Owl #19-0076 successfully passed “mouse school”, and with a good exercise report and pre-release blood work, the owl was declared ready for release. On May 15, the owl’s original rescuer came to the Center to pick up the bird and return it to its home habitat in Albemarle County.

Barred Owl #19-0076 has been exercising well in a flight pen during the past month. On May 6, the owl had a follow-up ocular examination – the third in a series of exams to monitor the stability of the owl’s eye injuries. The exam confirmed that the owl’s eye injury is stable, with no further degeneration, indicating that the owl can continue the rehabilitation plan with the goal of release.

Within the next two weeks, the rehabilitation staff will start the owl on “mouse school”, an essential live-prey test to make sure the owl is able to hunt for its own food. If the owl passes, pre-release blood work and a final exam will be scheduled before the owl returns to Albemarle County for release.

On April 7, Barred Owl #19-0076 was moved to Flight Pen 1. The following day, the owl had an ophthalmic examination with Dr. Karra, the Center’s veterinary intern; Dr. Karra reported that the owl’s retinal tear had healed, and the bird was cleared for exercise.

When raptor patients are admitted to the Center with ocular issues, they are typically placed on a three-month “ocular hold”. The ocular hold allows the veterinary staff to monitor eye injuries over an extended period of three months, rather than releasing a bird with potentially degenerative eye injuries. Each month, the patient has an eye examination to assess the healing injury. Typically, if the second eye exam of the ocular hold period is within normal limits, the bird is cleared for exercise, so the patient can begin to work on its stamina and, hopefully, will be close to release condition by the time the third and final ocular exam is scheduled.

Barred Owl #19-0076 will have its final eye exam on May 2; as long as the exam is within normal limits and the owl is exercising well, the bird could be released in May.