This stunning barn owl, originally nicknamed Barney, arrived after being spotted, collapsed, on a train track.
Whilst his rescuer was able to pick him up, Barney gave the kind gentleman a bit of a surprise by using his sharp talons as a defence, but, thankfully, no serious injuries were suffered, but it was a good reminder that even weak and collapsed animals can still be a risk.
Our on-call vet, Meriem, got all suited up to pre-assess Barney in our quarantine unit, where he was checked for symptoms of avian influenza(AI) before entering the centre. Happy that he was symptom free of AI, Meriem gave Barney a full assessment, including making use of our kindly gifted iCare Tonovet Tonometer, once again, to check both of Barney's eyes for signs of trauma.
At this stage, Barney was unable to stand un-aided, but he certainly had attitude and very clear evidence that his legs and feet worked just fine!
Given that he was a little underweight and dehydrated, Meriem placed Barney on IV fluids, and closely monitored his condition over the following days.
Over the following days, Barney required additional fluids, and support feeding using a specialist mix known as Emeraid. The easily absorbable and highly digestible mix works to provide life-saving semi-elemental nutrition during the critical first week of rehabilitation. Two days later Barney finally began eating for himself, and his hydration levels became stable enough, that the IV catheter was able to be removed.
Nine days after arriving in care, Barney was able to be moved into a much larger aviary, to help re-build his flight.
Interestingly, Barney had been fitted with a BTO ring before his admission to us, so we submitted his details with the hopes of finding out a little more about his life, and indeed we did!
It turns out Barney was in fact Barnita!
We were able to find out that not only is "Barney" a female, hence "Barnita", but she is also one of this year’s chicks! Barnita was ringed in July, as a nestling, and since fledging she'd clearly struggled, as she arrived with us less than 2 months later.
We received an e-mail from her BTO ringer asking how she was doing, and we were very pleased to give him great news on her improving condition.
Barnita went from strength to strength during the time she spent in our large aviary, and after showing us several times, her impressive and effortless flight, she was given the all clear from our vet team to head home, and try her wings once more at fledging.
Barn owls are a rare sight here at Wildlife Aid, but like many of the species that arrive through our doors, barn owls are facing severe decline due to pollution and habitat loss as they find it harder and harder to find food.