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An Owl's Bad Day Gets Better



On November 9, a Northern Saw-whet Owl was having a very bad day. She was lying on the pavement in the middle of a Seattle street, and she was surrounded by crows that were not happy to see her in their territory. A passerby noticed her predicament and intervened, but not before the owl had lost a few feathers and suffered a minor injury to one eye.

Northern Saw-whet

The owl’s rescuer brought her to PAWS. During her initial exam she appeared quite disheveled. She was missing some secondary feathers on her left wing, and she was squinting with her right eye. Fortunately no bones were broken, and a follow-up veterinary examination found that her eye injury was treatable. She was prescribed five days of antibiotic eye ointment at the end of which she had made a full recovery.

Northern Saw-whet

Northern Saw-whet Owls spend the summer in the forests of the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges, and farther north in Canada and southwest Alaska. In the fall these diminutive predators migrate to lower altitudes and/or latitudes, and many of them overwinter in the Puget Sound lowlands. Downtown Seattle is not exactly prime habitat for the species though.

Northern Saw-whet

Saw-whet Owls usually spend the day safely concealed in the sheltering branches of a fir tree. The owl that was brought to PAWS was probably traveling from one forested park or greenbelt to another when she ran into trouble. Perhaps she hit a window and was dazed long enough for the sun to come up and the crows to find her, or maybe she just chose her daytime roost poorly.

Whatever the case, she received a helping hand at PAWS, and by the time you read this she will once again be flying free.



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