Thursday, April 18, 2013

TRC Clinic - Nine Species of Owls

Short-eared owl
Boreal owl

If you follow the weekly clinic census on ourwebsite, you will see that we currently are caring for nine of the ten owl species commonly seen in MN.  Having this many different owl species in the clinic at the same time is very rare!   A few, such as the long-eared owl and short-eared owl, are migrants that were injured during the fall migration and spent the winter in the warm confines of our clinic.  Other species, such as the snowy owl, great gray owl and boreal owl  are all northern species that ventured south this past winter looking for prey which was difficult to find in their native northern homelands.  More common species, the great horned owl, northern saw-whet owl, eastern screech-owl, and barred owl, round out the nine, with barred owls admitted in unusually large numbers during February and March.  Barred owls get more active during this time, when they establish breeding territories.  We suspect that the harsh ground conditions - layers of snow separated by ice - made it difficult for these owls to hunt successfully to meet their increased energy needs; many were malnourished when admitted.

We have maintained an average of 70 patients in the clinic since the first major snow of the season last December.  This is almost double our case load last winter mostly due to the increased number of owls needing help.  We have already admitted 35 more patients than this time last year and the number keeps growing.

As always, TRC’s clinic staff and volunteers are ready to respond to the increased amount of care needed for these patients.  Will you help us pick up the tab on the increased food bills?  Your support is critical to help us continue this work.  You can go to our online giving site

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