It’s a release party that couldn’t come at a better time.
This Sunday, at Burrowing Owl Estates winery, a mother great horned owl and her two youngsters, believed to have ingested Warfarin, will again taste freedom.
“They’re doing great, really great actually,” said manager Dale Belvedere of the SORCO Raptor Rehab Centre, who’s been caring for the birds since they were discovered on an Oliver property in early May “It’s good (being able to release them) because we’re full up, we have five red tails (hawks) and 11 great horned owls.”
The hawks are juveniles of various ages from hatchlings to older chicks and the majority of owls are also young.
“I have a funny feeling that it might be the heat that’s affecting them,” said Belvedere. “They’re just not used to it at that age, for them to be out in the blazing sun and not know to get protection, I mean they should know, but you just never know with them.”
One of the owls is an adult was found in a field, suspected of having been sprayed with fertilizer, while another newcomer came in with an undiagnosed condition but appears to be on the mend.
Of the three owls being released this Sunday, which is open to the public, the mother was the most seriously impacted by the poison, believed to have been put out at a RV site to kill rodents neighbouring the lot where she was found.
Blind and unable to fly, she and the owlets were given the antidote (Vitamin K1) in time, part of the 21-day treatment regimen.
She had been seen sitting on a picnic table for several days and the babies were found in a nest nearby.
The male owl associated with the nest was never found and is believed to have succumbed to the poison which likely came from an animal (rodent) it had eaten.
There was another reported incident of a great horned owl suffering from Warfarin poisoning in Kelowna in March.
That bird was also cared for at SORCO and released back into the wild in early June.
At Burrowing Owl Sunday, Houdini, the centre’s resident great horned owl, will in attendance starting at 1 p.m.
The three birds heading back to the wild will be arriving about 45 minutes later with release time set for 2 p.m.
Donations for SORCO’s ongoing work will be gratefully accepted at that time.
The winery is located at 500 Burrowing Owl Pl., Oliver.