This week we have in our care an injured Long Eared Owl. As we are not yet sure of the sex of the bird I will refer to it as male for this column.
This stunning bird arrived the Thursday before last after the Laois SPCA, a rescue group we work with, received a call about an injured owl on the side of the road. A kind passer-by had noticed him lying in the grass verge and he was clearly in a lot of distress. As it was a busy road and the owl was at serious risk of being run over, the man was advised to careful place him in a dark box with a towel and bring him home until someone was able to pick him up. Shirley and Kerry from the LSPCA quickly went to collect him up after calling us for help.
Once he arrived at the shelter he was given a quick examination, weighed and treated for shock and then placed in one of our special wildlife units.
The owl was extremely emaciated and only weighed 200g. It’s possible he was injured two days or more before being rescued. After a couple of hours rest, his wing was examined and a very bad break and wound was found just below the elbow joint.
As a trained wildlife rehababailtor I was able to give the owl first aid treatment and make him as stable as possible before attempting to move him where he would come under more stress which can prove fatal. The owl was also not eating, so every 4 - 6 hours he was been tube fed a special high-protein, high-calorie food which promotes recovery.
Once well enough he was brought to Animal First Veterinary Clinic in Kilcullen who specialise in birds and exotics amount other animals. Rachael examined him and confirmed he had a compound fracture to his left wing as well has a large open wound. She bandaged the wing and started him on a strong course of antibiotics. Once the infection has cleared we are hoping that the wing can be operated on and repaired.
Please remember that you need a licence to treat and care for sick and injured wildlife and this should be done by a professional to give the animal every chance of returning to the wild.
Dan Donoher of Kildare Animal Foundation writes the Pet Rescue column every week in the Leinster Leader