A scheduled release date has been set for a mother owl and her two owlets as they continue to recover from suspected Warfarin poisoning.
Manager Dale Belvedere of the SORCO Raptor Rehab Centre said the trio will likely fly the coup sometime in late July, early August.
“We’ve got mom and babies in a large flight pen and they’re doing fine,” said Belvedere this week. “They are all flying and eating well and they’re very aggressive which is great because under the circumstances it could have been very tricky.”
She was notified in late May by someone in Oliver who had seen the female sitting on a picnic table which hadn’t moved for several days.
Belvedere arrived to find the owl apparently suffering from poisoning and the two owlets not far away in a tree, also believed to have ingested Warfarin, possibly from the food the parents had brought back to the nest.
She began administering the antidote, Vitamin K1 immediately, the mother being the worst of the three, having impaired vision and not being able to fly.
She believes the Warfarin, likely being used to kill rodents, was not on the property where the birds were found but at a neighbouring RV Park.
At this stage the birds will be released on the Burrowing Owl winery property near Oliver.
“They’re from the Oliver area and I just can’t put them back where they were found,” said Belvedere. “They’ve (Burrowing Owl) have a great acreage which is important because there’s three of them that’s going to go together and the Burrowing Owl have been great supporters of us and we haven’t released there in a long time. There are also plenty of rodents there so they won’t have to forage for food.”
While the young owls would normally have left the nest by now, she expects mom will hang around to make sure the babies are able to fend for themselves.
“In the wild she’ll watch them for three months after they leave the nest and will coax them to go out and hunt,” said Belvedere.
At this point she has not heard of any similar cases of poisoning, noting she had over 2,000 comments on her Facebook page when she first posted word about the poisoning.
“And some of them were not very pleasant,” added Belvedere.