Story by Jim Moodie, for the Sudbury Star:
A rehabbed snowy owl didn’t need much time to decide it preferred the open skies to a closed cardboard box on Tuesday.
Moments after Wild At Heart worker Hannah Tennet pried open the flaps on the container, the yellow-eyed beauty unfurled its black-flecked wings and flapped off into the sun, if not quite the sunset.
The release took place shortly after 2 p.m., giving the big downy raptor a few hours yet of daylight to reorient herself and search for food. Unlike most owls, this type is not nocturnal, and will hunt mostly in the daytime.
It was a lack of food, however, combined with cold, that caused the bird to arrive at Wild at Heart in the first place.
Operations manager Monica Seidel said the centre took in the owl on Dec. 13, after a resident in the Hanmer area found it rooting around for scraps in their yard.
“It was looking for food in the garbage and couldn’t fly when approached,” she said, adding several crows had noticed the ailing owl and were circling around to attack her.
The weather had recently turned bitterly cold, which sent rodents and other critters that owls will typically dine on into hiding, so there was little wild food available.
In her weakened state, the owl was also more vulnerable to the cold, and “ice had started to form on its feet,” said Seidel.
Tennet noted snowy owls “have poor circulation in their feet and can get frostbite quite easily.”
Read the full Sudbury Star article here.
Snowy Owl Talons. Photo by Stephanie Delay.
Adopt a snowy owl staying at Wild at Heart here.
Purchase a snowy owl mug, featuring a snowy owl that was rehabilitated at Wild at Heart here.