This great horned owl was brought to the Southwest Wildlife Foundation, Inc. by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources in November. It had been hit by a car west of Cedar City receiving a severe concussion which caused it to lose its vision and balance. Within a week of its arrival into our rehabilitation it was able stand and feed itself. Its vision was also returning but it still suffered from neurological and balance issues.
After two weeks in our care it was able to fly back and forth to the perches in its rehabilitation chamber. It was well on the road to a full recovery and after a month in rehabilitation it was released late in the afternoon on December 28 by Douglas Chang the president of the Las Vegas Chapter Audubon Society. Several spectators met up at the Rush Lake Ranch along the Minersville Highway, just north of Cedar City Utah for this release, but since the trees there were full of wintering bald eagles, we drove out to the Parowan Gap where the owl was released back to the wild.
These two great horned owls are growing very quickly. They can eat up to 10 mice a day each while they are growing.
They’re nest box has been moved outdoors to a larger rehabilitation chamber.
They do not make good pets and it is illegal to keep them as pets. These are being raised by federal and state licensed wildlife rehabilitator, Martin Tyner of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation. They were found at different ages by two different people in two different locations and were unable to be returned to the nest. One came to us at approximately one day of age.
They are now fledglings. If you find a baby like this on the ground, it is normal. Do not be tempted to “rescue it”. They outgrow their nest and leave it before they can fly. Their parents will continue to feed them on the ground and soon they will learn to fly and follow their parents as they learn to hunt for themselves.
The babies have all they can eat while they are growing. When they finish their growth stage we will introduce live mice for them to catch.
As you can see from my picture, I have a new roommate. She is also a great horned owl and about 4 or 5 days older than I am. She had fallen from her nest and was picked up by a farmer and his children. They though it would be fun to raise her as a pet. Unfortunately they were feeding her cat food which gave her a very upset tummy. It’s kind of like getting a new roommate whose last meal before moving in was a big pot of beans. Last night she had a terrible case of the squirts and the smell could be weaponized.
Fortunately for me birds have little to no sense of smell. But she really messed up our nest box. When Mr. Tyner came down stairs for our early morning feeding you could see how bad the smell was from the look on his face and the tears in his eyes. He immediately removed us from the nest box, cleaned up the papers and the rags and hauled the stinky mess outside as quickly as possible.
This is one of the problems with people trying to raise baby wild animals. Most people don’t realize that we have a very specific diet provided by our parents. In order to raise us successfully we need that diet duplicated exactly.
My favorite food is mice. I eat the heads, the bones, the fur; the entire mouse. This helps to give me a balanced diet. When owls eat the right kind of foods, our poop has very little smell. We like being clean.
My new roommate and I are very expensive to feed. We will both eat approximately 10 mice a day at $1 each, so if you would like to help the Southwest Wildlife Foundation continue to provide yummy meals for both of us and all of our friends, donations can be made to www.gowildlife.org
Here is my latest picture; I’m obviously having a bad hair day.
Sunday was very busy for the Tyner’s.
Mr. Tyner’s telephone rang at 7:00 in the morning. A pickup truck hit a golden eagle on the Minersville Highway just south of the town of Minersville. The person driving the truck was very upset, he said he has never hit an animal before and was devastated that it was an eagle.
Mr. & Mrs. Tyner immediately jumped into their car and drove more than 40 miles each way to rescue the golden eagle.
Here is the good news. By the time the Tyner’s arrived the eagle had flown approximately 300 yards to the east; and as Mr. Tyner approached, the eagle flew off, sore but uninjured. Everyone was relieved, especially the gentleman who hit the eagle.
Some more good news; the adult great horned owl that the Tyner’s received last week that was hit by a car up in Fillmore Utah is doing well, flying around in the flight chamber and should be releasable soon.
As you can see in the photographs she is incredibly beautiful, I can’t wait; in about 6 weeks I will look just like her and be ready to start flying.
P.S. Check out the video: I’ve learned a new trick! I can swallow mice whole!
Unfortunately when people find baby birds of prey they try and give them water, milk, bird seed, lettuce, hot dogs, hamburger, or bacon not realizing how bad those things are for me. Great horned owls eat almost exclusively rodents of all kinds; mice, rats, gophers, etc. This is why we are so beneficial to our environment.
Owls do not make good pets. This little guy will be released when he is full grown and learns to hunt and catch mice and small rodents on his own.
Here are pictures of our latest rescue and our first baby of the year.
Even though I’m so little and Mr. Martin Tyner who rescued and is caring for me did not have the opportunity to see my parents or my nest, he is quite certain that I am a great horned owl.
In as little as nine weeks I will be full grown and flying, but until then I will be eating lots and lots of mice. Mice are my favorite food and when I get bigger and I’m really hungry I can eat as many as 12 mice a day.
Enjoy this short video of me having breakfast my second morning at the SWF. The little white spot on the tip of my beak is called an egg-tooth which I used to peck my way out of my egg when hatching.
The next video is only 2 days after the first video. I am about 4 or 5 days old now. I don’t know if you can tell how fast I grow but I feel like I double in size every day.
The first photo is me on the first day I came to the Southwest Wildlife Foundation. Of course I had been warmed and given several meals before I had my picture taken. At first I got fed every two hours, but now I can eat bigger meals so I can go three hours between meals. For some reason at 2:00 in the morning Mr. Tyner sure looks tired.
If you would like to help Martin Tyner and the Southwest Wildlife Foundation to care for me, donations can be made through their website www.gowildlife.org or mailed to:
Southwest Wildlife Foundation
P.O. Box 1907
Cedar City, UT 84721
Have a Wonderful Week!