By Jen Mannas, Naturalist
Leaving home can be scary and a hard thing to do for humans but imagine you are a four week old baby owl (owlets) leaving your nest cavity, high up in a tree, for the first time.
Owl fledglings are not great fliers at first; for the first five or six weeks out of the nest they hop from branch to branch or take short flights following their parents. During this time owlets can fall to the ground where they stay under a close eye of their parents until they get off of the ground. Sometimes these falls result in an injury and the owlet may not be able to make it back to safety.
This is what happened to a Western Screech Owlet in Redmond. He was found in a driveway by the homeowners one June morning not moving or vocalizing. When he was still in the same spot later that evening they assumed something was wrong. They scooped him up and brought him to PAWS. In our Wildlife Center, he was unable to stand very well and was putting all of his weight on his left leg.
After examining his x-rays PAWS' veterinarian team determined he had a broken right leg. They promptly put a splint on it and placed him under observation to monitor him for any nerve damage in his right foot. After only a few days he was standing on both legs again and could partially flex his right toes. Within two weeks, of his arrival at PAWS, the splint was removed and he was placed in an outdoor enclosure where we continued to monitor his grasping ability.
After 24 more days of cage rest he was able to successfully fly and grasp his perches with both feet. On July 17, at sunset, he was released back to his forest in Redmond where he found safety amongst the trees.
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