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Great Grey Owl

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

Patient Spotlight:

This patient came to us earlier in the year and was our 214th intake of 2022.

This Great Grey Owl originally came into our care after being found suspected to be struck by a car on April 14th, 2022. Upon intake, this Grey Grey had some bruising behind its ears and severe trauma to his right eye, including a corneal ulcer and scar.

On April 29th, just 15 days later, our veterinarian performed surgery to remove the right eye. The surgery went very well, and by May 18th, the surgical site had healed with no concerns for infection or pain.

Throughout the healing process, our wildlife care specialists moved the owl up

through enclosure sizes according to the owl's healing process and physical capabilities.

By the end of May, the owl had been medically cleared to be moved into a large flight pen to begin vision, flight, and prey testing.

This Great Grey was in our care for only 72 days! Even with one eye missing, this Great Grey Owl completed all the proper conditioning and passed all the required testing, and was ready to be release back to the wild. Two of our staff members released him just North West of the city in a large open space between Airdrie and Cochrane.

Did you know?

  • Great Grey Owls are the largest owl to live in the Northern Hemisphere

  • Great Greys have a satellite dish of feathers on the face which help direct sound to their ears

  • They have a life span of around 12 years

  • They can hear their prey’s heartbeat under two feet of snow

  • They have sensitive feathers called crines around the beak, used to locate dead prey

Most Great Grey Owl deaths are caused by starvation during harsh periods of the year that lack prey. Other causes can also occur, such as electrocution, traffic accidents, and shootings by farmers or careless hunters. Deforestation and human disturbance are detrimental to the living conditions and population of Great Grey Owls. Lack of nest sites and prey items also causes population decline. Rodenticides used to control rodent populations can also cause owl poisonings from the food chain, as Great Greys are carnivores and rely heavily on small rodents for food.

Help us care for more injured and orphaned owls by donating today!


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