Great Horned Owl with Embedded Pellets
This great horned owl, found lying on her back and in distress, is now undergoing observation and rehabilitation on her way to recovery. After being brought to Tucson Wildlife Center, a visual exam revealed an entrance wound on the right side of the chest. A radiograph showed a metallic foreign body, consistent with a pellet from a pellet gun, just left of the owl’s midline near the trachea and just above the heart. TWC veterinarians are currently thinking that surgery is too risky and hopefully unnecessary but are keeping a close watch on a fracture of the owl’s coracoid … a short, thick bone connecting the sternum to the shoulder, where the bullet struck.
This year, TWC has seen an increase in the number of birds admitted with embedded pellets, usually resulting in significant harm or death. TWC would like to remind the public that almost all birds, such as this great horned owl, are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. According to the Arizona Game & Fish Department (AZGFD), “it is illegal to harm, trap, kill or harass raptors, according to federal and state laws. The public is encouraged to anonymously report knowledge of a wildlife shooting to AZGFD’s 24/7 hotline, 1-800-352-0700.” (www.azgfd.com/wildlife-conservation/living-with-wildlife/living-with-raptors)
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