Mysteriously Emaciated Great Horned Owl

great horned owl on perchThe following story was shared with us by Buz Marthaler at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah

An adult great horned owl arrived at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah (WRCNU) in an extremely emaciated condition. He weighed in at 796 grams (about 1.7 pounds), almost half the average weight for this species. Reason for his condition was unknown; weather over the period prior to arrival was rather mild for winters in this area.

He was hydrated with both oral and sub-Q fluids for the first 24 hours, and then started on EmerAid Intensive Care Carnivore twice a day for the next four days. After this, he was started on eviscerated mice, force-fed, until he was able to eat on his own.

One month later he was able to take whole mice on his own, at which point he was placed outdoors in an acclimation enclosure to build strength and endurance for release one month later.