Original Article By: Antonia Zerbisias Feature Writer
Published on Fri Dec 27 2013
When a little patient arrived at the Toronto Wildlife centre, the staff fell in love. The northern saw-whet owl only weighs two to three ounces. However, they caution, “…Don’t underestimate him. He can take on a rodent or bird several times his size for dinner.” That’s probably what he was doing before he crash landed in early November.
While at the Toronto Wildlife Centre he will be treated for ulcers in both of his eyes. To protect him and help him heal, he will be put on medication and keet in a large crate.
He’s just one of the 10 birds of prey checked in; the others include other owls, red-tailed hawks, a Cooper’s hawk and a northern goshawk.
Executive director Nathalie Karvonen says, “Winter is very hard for raptors. Food is scarce so they’ll swoop down on roads and take chances they don’t normally take at other times of the year.”
Inside the centre, the goshawk goes under for a series of X-rays and the pictures reveal no fractures. In addition, the blood work came back fine and his feather condition is excellent.
Dr. Sherri Cox announces “He’s clear. He probably hit something because he has an eye injury and soft tissue trauma. But he’s clear.” This bird of prey willl be on a diet of rodent-sicles in no time, and then back scrounging for squirrels.
“Birds of prey are more expensive for us,” says Karvonen. “People can’t easily donate food like cat or dog food. They don’t show up with bags of frozen mice. And we can’t feed them tofu.”
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