Burrowing Owl

  A Miraculous Return to Health by Margaret Pickel It was a lucky fall day for Athene Cunicularia commonly known as the Burrowing Owl, when two young children found her in the middle of a street in Baytown. Acting quickly, they picked her up and with the help of their dad, brought her to the Wildlife Center. Our newfound patient was evaluated and was found to have a severe head injury. X-rays revealed no broken bones; however, she could not stand and had total paralysis in her legs and talons. Anti-inflammatory medication was administered. In the weeks that followed, volunteers patiently tried every trick in the book to stimulate feeding. Rehabbers provided physical therapy and slowly, first one leg and then the other began to function. Time and support at the Wildlife Center gave her the opportunity to recover. The Burrowing Owl is not as common in the Houston area as in years past. Habitat destruction, subsidence and fire ants are suspected  for the decline. The gulf coast is a favorite wintering location and it is believed that the injured owl was either in migration or wintering here. Unfortunately, being ground dwellers often they are killed by vehicles while crossing roadways. Natural enemies abound including coyotes, snakes, feral and domestic cats and dogs. The Burrowing Owl has been moved to one of the Wildlife Center’s flight cages to allow her to strengthen her wings. Once her wings are strong enough and she is feeding reliably, volunteers will relocate her to an area with a resident population.   Burrowing Owls Fast Facts and Strange Quirks The Burrowing Owl is a small, long-legged little creature standing about eight inches tall. Crouched at the mouth of its burrow or [...]