(Not the CHS, but maybe a distant relative.)
This afternoon Suzanne and Kestrel at Sarvey Wildlife Care Center sent additional updates about the Capitol Hill Snowy Owl.
Hi Larry,The snowy continues to make good progress. She was 1.49kg at intake and today weighed in at 1.84kg.We hope to be able to release her in about a week. She is conditioning and working on flying, improving endurance.I have cc'ed our Education Director, Kestrel on this email. She can better answer your questions about the unique challenges rehabilitating different owl species.Suzanne WestExecutive DirectorSarvey Wildlife Care Centerwebsite: www.sarveywildlife.org
To answer your question about the enclosure where the CHS is being kept I would like first like to assure you there are standards that we follow set by the IWRC (International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council) and similar organizations and agencies; we have both State and Federal permits and licenses. We have the owl in an aviary that lets it exercise, the problem is getting the bird to exercise. Most owls are rather sedentary. I have recommended this bird, in a controlled way, be made to exercise to build up some endurance. The owl is able to fly while carrying a rat. This bird can gain height and bank well enough for release in about 1 week.
Each species has particular needs. One of our main concerns with a snowy owl is getting it well enough in time for it to return back to the arctic. This will not be a problem for this one as plenty of snowy owls have been sighted in several areas.
This bird was thin and had a bruised spinal cord. As a result, the tail could not move the way it should be able to and it could not fan. The tail is used primarily for steering and breaking. When it is not working well, flight and landing can be compromised. The flight muscles, the pectorals, have been built up through diet and exercise. This bird definitely is getting a second chance.
Education DirectorSarvey Wildlife Care Center
Thank you to Suzanne and Kestrel for the information and more importantly for all their efforts to help the Capitol Hill Snowy and the other wild creatures in their care.
More to follow.