The following story was shared with us by Clinic For The Rehabilitation Of Wildlife (CROW) in Florida.
On November 11, 2020, an adult barn owl was admitted to the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) after being struck by a vehicle in Clewiston, Florida. At intake the owl had a thin body condition score and weighed 485 grams (about 1.1 pounds).
Veterinary staff did a full ophthalmic exam, X-rays, and blood work. They found it had a depressed mentation consistent with suspected head trauma, an ulcer on the right eye, and bruising on the right elbow. An intravenous catheter was placed and the owl was started on IV fluids. It was also started on pain medications and eye drops for the eye ulcer.
Veterinary staff began tube-feeding the owl 3 percent of its body weight with EmerAid IC Carnivore formula. Due to its depressed state and thin body condition, we started with a low percentage and slowly increased to feeding 5 percent of its body weight throughout the day. With the nutritional and supportive care, the owl began to show signs of improvement.
After its mentation improved and the eye ulcer healed, it was moved outside to an outdoor enclosure to begin reconditioning for release. Due to the soft tissue injury to the right elbow, it took some time for the owl to regain good flight. While in the outdoor flight cage, it was monitored closely by our rehabilitation team.
The owl was eating well and continued to show improvements. Its weight increased to around 550 grams (about 1.2 pounds) and it now had a healthy body condition. After 31 days in care, the owl showed normal behaviors and good flight capabilities and was cleared for release. On December 7, 2020, it was released back to its home territory in Clewiston.