More owls are needing help this winter from Medicine River Wildlife Centre. (Photo from Facebook)

Heavy snow hard on owls

More owls at Medicine River Wildlife Centre

More owls than usual have ended up at Medicine River Wildlife Centre, many of them starving from all the snow in Central Alberta this winter.

“It’s been an owl winter. We’ve had lots of owls, many of them are coming in slightly injured, but mostly starved. When it’s deep snow it’s harder to get food,” said executive-director Carol Kelly on Wednesday.

One owl was easily capture while sitting on a loading-zone sign between The Bay and Shoppers Drug Mart at Bower Place. It sat there so long people were taking photos of it, she said.

The overall recovery rate for injured and orphaned animals at the wildlife hospital, located west of Innisfail, is about 60 per cent. But the rate has been lower for owls this winter. Starvation can lead to organ failure and injury due to weakness. But injury can also cause starvation, she said.

“We don’t know what comes first. Two were euthanized the past week or so because their wings are so badly broken there were dead bones sticking out everywhere.”

When recovered, Medicine River Wildlife Centre returns wildlife to their natural environment.

About 20 owls have been taken to the centre. As many as a dozen are in the centre’s big flight pen outside. One is still in treatment in the hospital.

“Many of them are ready to release pretty quick. We just released a great grey owl. Two snowy owls are just about ready. I got a great grey owl a few days ago that bounced back really nicely. It wasn’t starved.”

Many of the owls brought to the centre are great grey owls because there are more of them in the area. Only four snowy owls arrived needing help.

She said a number of calls have come in about smaller owls, like boreal owls, spotted in urban areas. A lady in Red Deer saw an owl in the tree in her yard on Tuesday.

“Diving through the snow to catch mice is next to impossible for these little guys. So we’re getting lots of reports of people seeing them in their trees. They’re just coming closer to people because there are bird feeders.”

Kelly said great horned owls are nesting in the wild right now.

“We’ll start seeing babies anytime soon.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Amanda Lindhout kidnapper sentenced to 15 years in prison

OTTAWA — A Somalian man found guilty in the kidnapping of Amanda… Continue reading

Police suspect fire at mosque in Alberta town was deliberately set

EDSON, Alta. — RCMP in Alberta say they’re investigating an arson at… Continue reading

Indigenous protesters in Washington declare Trans Mountain won’t be built

VANCOUVER — Cedar George-Parker remembers the moment he decided to devote his… Continue reading

In Bill Morneau’s riding, 40 per cent of children live in poverty, report says

OTTAWA — Four in every 10 children residing in Finance Minister Bill… Continue reading

Strong quake near Osaka, Japan, kills 3, knocks over walls

TOKYO — Residents in western Japan were cleaning up debris Monday evening… Continue reading

WATCH: Central Alberta High School Soccer League champs crowned

Lindsay Thurber girls’ team and Notre Dame boys’ team won Saturday at Edgar Park Field in Red Deer

Roll out the barrels: Christo artwork floats on London lake

LONDON — The ducks, geese and hardy cold-water swimmers in London’s Hyde… Continue reading

Just For Laughs production company promotes COO Bruce Hills to president

MONTREAL — The production company behind Montreal’s Just For Laughs comedy festival… Continue reading

Auto parts firm Magna plans electric vehicle joint ventures with Chinese company

AURORA, Ont. — Magna International Inc. says it will form two new… Continue reading

Collection featuring Group of Seven paintings donated to University of Lethbridge

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — Margaret (Marmie) Perkins Hess spent a lifetime following her… Continue reading

5 dead as SUV chased by Border Patrol crashes in South Texas

BIG WELLS, Texas — At least five people were killed and several… Continue reading

Ramifications of a trade war: an expert look at the numbers for Canada

OTTAWA — A new analysis of escalating trade disputes involving the United… Continue reading

Deliberate spill: study launched to test crude and bitumen impact on lake life

KENORA, Ont. — Researchers were in northwestern Ontario over the weekend spilling… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month