It may have looked calm by the time Victoria Animal Control Services arrived, but the barred owl tangled in loose netting had struggled for freedom for at least two days.
Animal control officer Chris McAllister helped to remove the owl from the branch Thursday morning around 9:30 a.m. He said its talons and one of its wings were completely entangled in synthetic netting and a dead rodent was on the ground nearby, indicating the owl had become trapped when it tried to leave with its prey.
The bird was dropped off to Wild ARC around 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
“The owl is currently very dehydrated [and] one of its wings is bruised and swollen,” said Tara Thom, Wild ARC assistant manager, adding it is also unable to use one of its legs. “There is a risk of nerve damage. After further examinations we will be able to determine if there are further injuries.”
Wild ARC believes the owl was trapped for two days, struggling to free itself and furthering its injuries in the process.
“When they get tangled, their first response is to fight their way out,” Thom said. “It can cause a lot of further injuries that can cause death.”
The owl will be put into isolation at Wild ARC in order to recover from its ordeal. Then the vets will be able to perform a full evaluation of its injuries.
Thom added, “if there is a severe fracture in the owl’s wing [and] if we are unable to fix the fracture or bring it back to a condition where it can fully survive in the wild, then it will not be able to be released.”
Thom urged the public to consider removing potential wildlife hazards from yards.
“To prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future, we do recommend using specific netting that is rigid and firm – if people are adamant about using it – so if [wildlife] do hit it they can get out and there will be only minor injuries.”
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