Great Horned Owlet #20-225

Great Horned Owlet #20-225
Jan 24 2020May 09 2020

Great Horned Owls are the largest owl in Florida. Although they can construct their own nests, Great Horned Owls usually nest in a heron or hawk nest. Usually, the nest is abandoned, but the owls sometimes evict the "rightful owner" and take over occupancy.

This nestling Great Horned Owl was admitted to the #CROWClinic after it reportedly fell from its nest. A general location of the nest was given, but the exact location was not provided by the finder.

Status Updates

Intake Exam - Jan 24 2020 3:47 pm

Veterinarians examined the owlet and did not find any evidence of broken bones from the fall. They noted that the owl did have an increased respiratory effort which may be due to stress, being overheated or pain from bruising caused from the fall. The owlet was placed in an oxygen chamber to help it calm down and breathe easier.

First Feeding - Jan 24 2020 5:30 pm

The owl was given its first feeding since being admitted tot he hospital. Its meal consisted of soft mouse pieces with pulverized bone, no skin, teeth, tail, or limbs. In the wild, an adult owl would tear pieces from the prey and feed it to the owlet. A veil is used by the staff to cover their faces and help prevent habituation. Additionally, owl calls are played in the room to make the youngster feel at home.

16 gram owl pellet - Jan 25 2020 9:10 am

A cast is when an owl regurgitates the undigested fur and bones from its prey. This is often referred to as an owl pellet and can be dissected to learn what the owl has been eating. The owlet regurgitated a 16 gram owl pellet this morning, a sign that was being well fed by its parents. Staff have began the search for the youngsters nest in hopes it will be able to be reunited with its parents.

Nest Located - Jan 27 2020 3:09 pm

Rehabilitation Manager Breanna F. was able to locate the nest thanks to some tell tale signs on the ground which included a large owl pellet, a partially eaten rabbit and the discarded eggshell. Due to Great Horned Owls being mostly nocturnal, the site will be monitored overnight to see if the parents are still in the area and if so, a re-nesting attempt will be made.

Owlet Remains at CROW - Jan 28 2020 10:53 am

Sadly, the parents were not seen around the nest overnight despite attempts to lure them close by playing sounds of the baby owl and other adult owls. It is likely the window to renest the youngster has been missed and the parents have left the area. Additionally, bloodwork showed some changes which concerned veterinarians so the baby will remain in the care of CROW staff.

A new friend - Jan 29 2020 2:45 pm

A few days ago, a second, slightly older Great Horned owlet (#20-255) was admitted to the clinic. It was severely anemic and received a blood transfusion with blood donated from Mina, our Great Horned Owl Animal Ambassador. Now that the second owlet is doing better, the two owlets can be housed and raised together. This will help them to learn from each other as they grow and prevent them from becoming too attached to human care.

Learning to self feed - Jan 30 2020 10:12 am

The two owlets were a bit shy towards each other at first but now seem to be getting along. Since it is always best for young owls to be raised by their parents, the next best thing for these youngsters is being raised by another adult Great Horned Owl like Mina, our Animal Ambassador. Mina, however is not good at feeding youngsters, so they must be able to feed themselves before she can potentially foster them. Staff began working with the two youngsters to get them to be able to eat their food placed on a log rather than being fed using tongs. A puppet/stuffed animal of an adult owl is also used in their enclosure to make them feel like a parent is around.

Growing like Weeds - Feb 06 2020 9:35 am

Both owlets continue to do well eating and are now eating a majority of their food on their own. Bloodwork for the second owlet (#20-255) was rechecked this week and was markedly improved since receiving the blood transfusion. #20-225 has increased its weight from 432 grams at intake to 750 grams while #20-255 has increased from 670 grams at intake to over a kilogram. The next step will be introducing them to our Animal Ambassador, Mina, an adult great horned owl, through 'day camp' in which they will spend short amounts of time with her to assess the potential for fostering the youngsters.

Day Camp - Feb 11 2020 3:14 pm

Now that the two owlets are eating on their own, they have began doing "day camp". This is where they are taken to an outside enclosure during the day and allowed to experience the sights and sounds in a safe space away from the hustle and bustle of the hospital. As they get older and start learning to stand on branches, they will stay outside full time until they are old enough to be released. Mina, our great horned owl Animal Ambassador, will gradually be introduced to them to assist in raising them.