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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Capitol Hill Snowy - Update III

(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 West 
Executive Director
Sarvey Wildlife Care Center

Hi Larry,

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.

Kestrel SkyHawk
Education Director
Sarvey 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.



  1. Larry, thanks so much for the update. I appreciate the responses by folks at Sarvey to your request for more information.

    1. You are welcome. I agree, everyone at Sarvey WCC has been very kind, patient and informative in their responses to various inquiries. We are lucky to have them in our neighborhood and the CHS is even more lucky they are here.

  2. Larry, thank you so much for the update. My husband and I were volunteers at a wildlife hospital in the Bay Area, and it never ceases to amaze me how resilient our wild brethren are -- in spite of every challenge we throw at them -- and how dedicated and devoted wildlife professionals are, often at significant personal sacrifice. Thank you, Sarvey for the beautiful work you do.

    1. You are welcome. Suzanne and Sarvey even got well deserved, front page coverage in the Seattle Times this morning. :-)