Rescue | Rehab | Release (520) 290-9453

Patient of the Week: 05/31/24

Great Horned Owl Fledgling

Whooo ordered the great horned owl? A great horned owl fledgling was recently rescued from a community swimming pool and brought to Tucson Wildlife Center in an unconventional container—a pizza box. An examination by our wildlife care team revealed a broken blood feather and a potential head injury. The owl is now undergoing rehabilitation.

Blood feathers are developing feathers in birds, including great horned owls. During their growth phase, these feathers have a blood supply running through the shaft, providing the necessary nutrients for the feather to develop. Once the feather is fully grown, the blood supply recedes, and the feather becomes a mature, fully developed feather. If a blood feather is damaged or broken, it can lead to significant bleeding, which can be dangerous for the bird.

Once recovered, our primary goal for this fledgling owl is to rebranch him with his parents. Before releasing an adult, we would test fly to ensure they can fly silently—a crucial skill for hunting and survival. This silent flight in great horned owls is due to their specialized feathers. The leading edges of their primary feathers are serrated, breaking up turbulence, and the velvety texture of their feathers dampen sound. Stay tuned for updates on this young owl’s journey back into the wild.

If you would like to help patients like the Great Horned Owl fledgling, click the button below.

Another way you can contribute is to visit our “wish list” on Amazon by clicking on the Amazon Wish List button below. We appreciate it, as will all the wild animals in our care!

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