February 12, 2013

The Westcliffe Saw-whet: Our Transport Season Starts

Saw-whet owl in a cardboard box.
Yes, what about that left eye?

The phone rang this afternoon, and it was the director of the Raptor Center, wanting to know if we could go to Westcliffe and pick up a saw-whet owl.

A local man had found it over the weekend. He told us, "I was driving and thought I saw a lump of snow in the road. But something made me turn around and go back."

He picked up the owl and took it home. Its left eye was apparently injured, but I don't know if it was in the road because of the injury or if something like a car collision had injured it.

Saw-whet owls get their name because their call sound like someone sharpening (whetting) a cross-cut saw with a file:: a "series of whistled toots."

If the eye cannot be saved, I do not see how the owl could ever be released. It would end up in captivity as an "education bird." How could it hunt without binocular vision?

At least by now, as I write this, it should be in the Raptor Center ICU with a full belly. I will update what happens to it, but you have to understand, only about half of the owls we have brought in have lived.

1 comment:

Lester Kish said...

I hope that the little guy makes it. We once had a similar experience. Years ago, while driving a gravel road in Montana, my wife and I noted a small lump off to the side of the road. It was raining, hard. Curious, I stopped, jumped out of the car, and walked over to the smallish sodden owl. One eye was injured, a tough predicament. He didn't budge when I picked him up. He got a ride to town in the back of the car, soon he was perched on top of the back seat and was talking to us. Once home, we thought "now what?" Into the shower he went, with the curtain rod doing duty as a perch. He happily gobbled down small pieces of venison.

We called Fish and Game the next day. Don't know what happened to him. I believe that they said it was a barred owl, unusual for the area.