The Barn Owl is getting stronger every day! He is now standing on his feet and was able to perch on his branch for a little bit! He still isn’t eating on his own yet, but with the help of wildlife staff he has been gaining his weight back with force feeding him mice with a high calorie dietary supplement smeared on them. He’s on a new medication to help keep his food down, which makes our job easier. He was hissing today and he even tried biting me, which is a great sign!
The Barn Owl that was brought in on Monday has survived four days!!! We still aren’t sure what happened to him, but he is slowly making improvements. We wrapped his legs and in between his talons to provide padding because he isn’t able to use his feet to stand. Three times a day we are stretching his talons out to try and get them to work. When he was first brought in his talons were clenched tightly and now they are beginning to loosen up. I was able to get him to clench his left foot around his perch today!
Right now things are still touch and go. We are thrilled that he is looking better than yesterday and that’s all we can hope for. The critter still has a very long way to go. If you would like to “adopt” him and contribute towards his trip back into the wild call Sam at 616-735-6240 ext 15 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Barns owls have been considered all but extinct from Michigan, so getting this one back out into the wild is highly important!
Today I got a phone call saying that someone had a Barn Owl who was injured. I told them to bring him on in, but fully doubted that it was going to be a Barn Owl that actually walked through our doors. Though I have only been at Blandford for a couple of years, my colleague has been here ten years and never had a Barn Owl come in. Barn Owls are a very rare sight in Michigan and are listed on the endangered species list. They often nest in tree cavities, abandoned buildings, and barns from which it gets its name. They feed on small vertebrates, such as mice and voles and occupy areas of open farmland and grassland. Part of the threat to Barn Owls, besides habitat loss, are pesticides used on crops. Small mammals will ingest the pesticides and in turn poison the owl when he captures his prey.
Sure enough it was a Barn Owl! The poor guy was found in Coopersville in someone’s barn down on the ground. Due to his small size we believe he is a male. We took him to the vet and he is currently receiving fluids via IV and warming up in their incubator. It is possible this is pesticide poisoning, though we are not fully certain at this time. We will be doing all that we can in hopes to re-release him back out into the wild!
With our Adopt a Rehab Animal program you are able to contribute to his journey back into the wild. For more information please email Sam@blandfordnaturecenter.org or call 616-735-6240 ext 15
May’s Animal of the Month: Baby
Common Name: Barred Owl
Scientific Name: Strix varia
Date of Birth: April or May of 2011
Baby came to Blandford Nature Center in May of 2011 after falling from her nest about 40 feet. She was only a month or two old. After an examination we found that she had cataracts in both eyes, which is just a clouding that develops in the lens of the eye. While this cloudiness has somewhat cleared up, she would not be able to see well enough to capture prey and live in the wild.
Over time Wildlife Staff and volunteers began to develop a bond with the young Barred Owl. We would leave the cage open for her in the mornings before we opened so that she could learn how to fly. She would fly around the wildlife center and often land on the highest parts watching us sweep to make sure we did good job. Eventually she began landing on the Saw Whet Owl and the Kestrels cages, making them squeal in terror, so we had to leash her to a perch. Baby was always quite the character! I had a toy that my cat didn’t play with so I brought it in and Baby loved it. She would keep it between her talons while she bounced around the wildlife center.
Nowadays Baby is in her teenage years and really lets us have it. We are currently training her to behave on the glove while we handle her. She consistently will fly from her cage to my glove from about five feet away. Once trained she will be joining the other animals out on the wildlife trail in the old Barn Owl exhibit. Baby is often with us when we go out for programs and likes to show off for our visitors here at Blandford. She has a special trick where she will grab a dollar (she like larger denominations though 😉 ) from visitors and will drop it into a donation jar. She also likes to nibble on my fingers while I’m presenting when my hand gets a little to close to her while I speak. Crazy girl!
You can help us care for Baby!
This is a wildlife sanctuary that allows us to take in animals that do not have the necessary abilities to be able to survive in the wild on their own. Your sponsorship goes towards the feeding, cleaning, medication, and overall love and care we provide for our resident animals. By sponsoring Baby your name will appear on her outdoor cage for all the world to see! You are also invited to bring her toys (she likes things with feathers on them!). Click here to view the different sponsorship levels and to make your contribution or come on in and fill out a form and visit Baby in person!