Casualty Central!

Casualty… eat your heart out! 
As you will probably know from previous blogs, the work of the Hospital here at the Sanctuary goes on constantly and quietly behind the scenes, but with every bit as much excitement as your favourite hospital drama!  Today was a first for me to actually be on hand when a concerned member of the public arrived with a very poorly Tawny Owl. 
It was the first time I have been privileged to see the falconers at work in their rehabilitation capacity, when an injured bird has been brought in and I was extremely impressed with the thorough care and attention the little bird received.  Fortunately, the lady who brought her in had done exactly the right thing – put the owl in a suitable container with a towel over it, to help keep it calm and quiet on the journey to us. 
Apparently, the Tawny had flown into a car at Thurston near Bury in Suffolk, probably concentrating far too hard on a tasty morsel to be aware of the danger! 
After giving the owl a thorough examination, Matt our Head Falconer pronounced that she had suffered a severe haemorrhage from her nose and left ear and had sustained damage to her left eye, which would be consistent with a nasty glancing blow to the left side of the head.  The poor bird put up with all this examining without so much as a peep and was then placed comfortably in one of the Hospital’s dark, quiet recuperation boxes to be left to rest until Maz takes her to the vet this afternoon.  We are all hoping, as always, that the Tawny will recover and that she can be released back into her natural environment – as soon as I know the outcome, I’ll let you know! 
So that was today’s drama.  We also had another Tawny Owl brought in to the hospital a couple of days ago.  This one had been brought in by a couple who had kept an eye on it for a couple of days, uncertain whether it was OK or not.  Finally, they found the owl on the ground outside their gate and realised that it was unable to fly.   The Tawny had been ringed and it appeared that it was born in local woodland in April of this year, so it’s obviously still very young and just getting the hang of fending for itself.  The couple who found it phoned us here at the Sanctuary and after investigation it transpired that somehow it had managed to scrape the skin off the underside of its wing. 
The Tawny was duly taken to Stowe Vets, where it had an operation under anaesthetic to have the wound cleaned.  Now it’s back at the Sanctuary for R&R and, fingers crossed, I hope to be able to report good tidings in the not too distant future.  At least one advantage of the owl being ringed means that we know exactly where to take her back to! 
Our other patient at the moment, yet another Tawny Owl – this time a male, is not in quite such a sorry state as the other two, but he does need a good deal of TLC and plenty of feeding up.  It would appear that he has an old injury on his foot, which has become infected and needs lancing.  Undoubtedly this has meant that he hasn’t been able to hunt properly, hence his emaciation.  We’ve no reason to think though that he won’t make a complete recovery, so watch this space! 
Ural be amazed by this chap! 
A while back, a Ural Owl joined the family at S.O.S. The Ural Owl can be found across Europe and Asia and shows a marked resemblance to both the Great Grey and the Tawny Owl.  The Ural Owl generally has a lighter, more silvery plumage than the Great Grey, with dark brown streaking on its back and underparts, which produces a very striking effect.  Its large, round facial disc is also very reminiscent of the Great Grey. 
Called Bea, our new owl was born in April and came to live at the Sanctuary at the beginning of July.  He’s a lovely chap with a really friendly character and has settled very quickly into his new home. We hope he will soon become a member of the flying team, which is used to illustrate the variety of characteristics found in different species of owl