Injured owl, found in Langley, nursed back to health

At first, Patricia Tallman thought the bird of prey was dead.

“She was hanging on to the top of the fence,” Tallman said. She had spotted the bird during a morning walk with her dog on May 2 in Willoughby, along a fence dividing R.E. Mountain Secondary and the Langley Event Centre’s playing fields.

Tallman passed the motionless bird, thinking that it might have been left there as a sick joke. Initially she didn’t even recognize it as an owl, she said.

She eventually called the police to look into it, and a call back let her know that the bird had still been alive.

A group of Langley Township firefighters helped take it down later that day, and handed it over to a volunteer from the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society (OWL) of Delta.

OWL’s caretakers found the bird seriously injured.

The great horned owl had somehow managed to pierce her lower beak with a sharp part of the fence.

“She ended up breaking her jaw,” said Martina Versteeg, one of the bird care staff at OWL.

“It was touch and go whether she would make it or not,” Tallman said.

The staff and vets tried to piece back together the owl’s shattered beak with rods and pins, but ultimately failed. For a time they were hand-feeding the bird.

Despite the serious injury that cost her about an inch of her lower beak, the bird began doing better and putting weight back on, said Versteeg.

“She’s quite the trooper,” Versteeg said.

After some time in captivity, it became clear that she could not only eat, but could still hunt on her own. OWL volunteers tested her in captivity to see if she could catch her own food, and made sure she could still rip and tear effectively, essential skills for a predatory bird.

“She was really ready to go,” said Versteeg.

On Friday, Oct. 24, the owl was released again, not far from where she had been found, but across the field and away from the fence, near a wooded area.

She flew straight into the woods, said Tallman.

“It was really amazing,” Tallman said of the experience of seeing the bird head back into the wild.

The firefighters who had helped out with her capture and delivery to OWL were there, including one who had been clawed a bit during her rescue.

Tallman said that a lot of people had walked past the owl that morning in May, all of them thinking she was dead – the owl had been keeping still to avoid attracting attention while wounded.

When faced with a wounded animal, Tallman recommends people call one of the rescue agencies, including OWL for wild predatory birds, or Langley’s own Critter Care, which takes in injured mammals from bears and deer down to flying squirrels.

Just Posted

Tardi earns first victory in quest for third national title

A Langley-based junior curling team is in Prince Albert, Sask. for the Canadian championships.

VIDEO: Giants wrap southern swing with 6-4 win in Spokane

The Langley-based hockey team defeated the Chiefs Friday night.

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered Langley girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

LETTER: Langley/Surrey shortchanged on transit for Vancouver

Funding to get SkyTrain to Langley City could come from not undergrounding Vancouver’s extension.

LETTER: Area letter writer puts Trump government shutdown in perspective

A Maple Ridge letter writer is critical of Hillary Clinton’s comments about the shutdown.

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Most Read