Fingers crossed for snowy owl

Carla Allen
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A snowy owl that was rescued from a barbed wire fence in Chebogue Point is recovering at the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.

Rehabilitation continues for a snowy owl rescued from a barbed wire fence in Chebogue Point just before Christmas.

The owl, which was discovered by Paul Willison and rescued with the help of others, was transported by the Department of Natural Resources in Tusket to the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Brookfield.

Helene Van Doninck is the volunteer wildlife veterinarian who founded the centre with her husband Murdo Messer.

The owl joined four others at the facility that had been received over the past few weeks.  

Van Doninck says when she saw a picture of the Chebogue Point owl before they received it, she didn't have a lot of hope for the wing.

“Happily when we got the bird it was not very thin meaning it was doing just fine before it found the barbed wire fence,” she said.

The damage to the wing is mostly based in the soft tissue that allows the wing to expand fully for flight.

“While this is better than a fracture, it can still make the bird unable to fly if the tissue doesn't heal properly” she said.

The owl also has a sore shoulder from hanging on the fence. The vets are working daily to clean the wound and are providing physiotherapy on the wing to prevent scar tissue formation. He is also on antibiotics to prevent infection.

The owl is being kept inside to avoid the risk of frostbite on the damaged wing. He will be moved outside eventually to allow stretching of the wing and will graduate to larger enclosures as he feels better. His ability to fly will be assessed when the wing is healed.

He has a good appetite and is eating mostly mice now.

Van Doninck says the bird appreciates the quiet environment with minimal human interaction.

“We've housed most Nova Scotian owl species and find the snowies to be a little stressy so we give them as much privacy as we can.

“Our fingers are crossed for a full recovery and we expect to have him for a month or more,” she said.


Organizations: Department of Natural Resources, Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre

Geographic location: Tusket, Brookfield, Chebogue Point

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