This rather sorry looking Tawny Owl, nicknamed "Twitter", is a victim of something we see quite often here at headquarters, a Road Traffic Accident.
Found lying lifeless at the kerbside, Twitter was lucky to be spotted by a kind member of the public, but like most birds of prey, owls can sometimes "play dead" as a defence mechanism, making it difficult to distinguish between their defence and their actual state of health.
During his full examination, we were pleased to find no damage to his eyes or wings, but when our vet Meriem parted the feathers across his back, it was a completely different story!
Twitter had suffered severe bruising across the entirety of his back and shoulders, and our concern quickly turned to the possibility of internal injuries. It became quickly apparent that the “playing dead” was, actually, a very poorly Owl.
We are extremely lucky to have an array of diagnostic equipment at WAF, and the vets to use them! Meriem opted to use the ultrasound in order to assess if there was any free fluid in the chest or abdomen that could indicate internal bleeding; thankfully, nothing sinister was found.
After receiving supportive fluids, Twitter was able to have pain relief and be placed into an ICU incubator, where he could be monitored closely, but his demeanour remained a concern over the following days, and he was under close observation to check for any residual effects from his ordeal.
After being support fed for several days, Twitter finally turned a corner more than 7 days after arriving in our care.
He began eating for himself, moving around his pen more, as well as producing pellets, something that birds of prey do as a form of waste removal, but it was also an excellent sign that Twitter's digestive system was working exactly the way it was supposed to!
With Twitter showing a lot more life and feistiness, he was moved out to a large flight aviary, where he could gently rebuild his muscles, and get some pre-release flight practice in.
And so after 19 days in care, we waited for a calm evening and for dusk to arrive, before releasing Twitter back to the area he was found, allowing him to return to his partner and possibly awaiting young.