A rare short-eared owl was found dead in a Saanich backyard on Monday evening and advocates are concerned.
Saanich resident Kimberly Adamec came across the owl after her tenant noticed the bird slumped face-down in the flowerbed around 5 p.m. on Oct. 26.
She said it was “unfortunate” to see this “beautiful animal” lying dead in her yard near Lansdowne Middle School. While she often hears owls in the neighbourhood, she’s only seen owls a few times and never this species.
Unsure what to do, Adamec went online and found Saanich News article that shared contact information for Deanna Pfeiffer, an advocate with Owl Watch BC. Pfeiffer connects people who’ve found dead owls with the Animal Health Centre lab for a necropsy.
At Pfeiffer’s recommendation, Adamec put the owl in her freezer so it can be assessed for a cause of death. The owl had injuries on its face but its body was in good condition with no marks indicating a fight or attack. She said Pfeiffer had suggested if it was poisoned like other owls in the region, it may have hit its face in its delirious state.
Pfeifer said short-eared owls are a vulnerable species in the province and rare on the Island. Just two hours before the body was found in Adamec’s backyard, a local birder shared a photo of a short-eared owl she’d spotted by Dallas Road on a Vancouver Island bird spotting Facebook Page.
Advocates assume it’s the same owl, Pfeifer said.
Anyone who comes across a dead owl can call Pfeifer at 250-514-2860 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance.