Great horned owl down

This afternoon Marije and I were alerted to the fact there was an owl in our backyard. It was on the ground and it looked to be in bad shape, soaking wet and bedraggled, bomb-dived from above by blue jays and crows. Last night we had a bit of a storm come through so we figured the owl must have injured itself. When we found the creature it looked like there wasn’t much life left in it, and the weather was getting worse again. When approached, the poor animal hardly moved, it never even made a sound:

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We called around to find out what to do, as did our neighbour, and we eventually both reached a biologist with some rescue experience. He suggested we capture the owl and keep it warm in a box until it could be collected and taken care of in a rehabilitation facility.

Thankfully our neighbour had a dip net, the kind of thing normally used to take fish from the water, but it turns out it served as an owl catching device quite well too. Initially alarmed by someone approaching with a net, the owl hopped along for a few metres, until it was captured and put inside a box lined with soft clothing:

great horned owl in a net

great horned owl in a net

The entire capture procedure was over in minutes, and the owl did not put up a fight, a sure sign it could not take care of itself right now.

At this moment the owl has been resting in the box for a few hours, it is anxious but safe for the night. Someone will come by to pick it up tomorrow morning, let’s all hope it works out!

~

An update from Tuesday morning:

I’m sad to report that despite our best efforts, the poor owl did not make it through the night… It has been picked up by a biologist who will attempt to find out if there was a cause other than the cold and stormy weather.