A Western screech owl was brought into MARS with an apparent head injury. Photo by Gyl Anderson/MARS

Injured owl begins recovery at MARS

Western screech owl was showing signs of a head trauma

An injured bird that was brought into MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre has started its recovery.

The Western screech owl was turned into the centre on Aug. 16 and was exhibiting signs of a head injury.

Wildlife rehabilitator Brenna Lerch said it’s likely the owl hit its head on something. Its pupils were two different sizes.

She said that head trauma in birds is relatively common, however it’s not often they will see a screech owl.

The bird is a blue-listed species in B.C., meaning that it’s of special concern.

RELATED: MARS seeing influx of sick, injured eagles from north part of Vancouver Island

The species is found in just a few locations in B.C.: the Okanagan and the West Coast.

They’re small, weighing about 160 grams – about as heavy as a hockey puck.

Screech owls like to live in old growth forests; they make their homes in holes in trees that have been excavated by woodpeckers. But as their habitat disappears and predators move in, the owls are becoming less and less common.

“We don’t see many screech owls at all,” said Lerch. “Their population has declined drastically.”

RELATED: MARS Visitor Centre in Merville celebrates grand opening this weekend

The owl that came into the centre is an adult. He’s on cage rest and is being given an anti-inflammatory and painkiller.

Lerch is hopeful that’ll bring down any swelling in its head.

With some time, the owl should be able to be released back into the wild.

“We try our best to release them back to where they came from,” said Lerch.

If you come across an injured bird and are unsure of how to proceed, you can call MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre at 250-337-2021.

RELATED: It’s baby season at MARS Wildlife Rescue Centre in Comox Valley


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