Barn Owl (#18-4423)

Barn Owl (#18-4423)
Nov 29 2018

Barn owls are one of five species of owls native to Southwest Florida, but are one of the most recognizable due to their heart-shaped faces and beautiful plummage.

Barn Owls put their nests in holes in trees, cliff ledges and crevices, caves, burrows in river banks, and in many kinds of human structures including barns. When the chicks hatch they are helpless and covered in white fluff. 

Status Updates

Intake Exam - Nov 29 2018 1:40 pm

This nestling barn owl was brought to one of our dropoff locations after it fell from its nest. Unfortunately, the finder did not provide information about where the nest was located other than it was in Labelle, Florida or any contact information. Without these details, we are unable to re-nest the youngster. During its intake exam, veterinarians also noticed that the owl had a malocclusion, or misalignment, of its upper and lower beak. Without the two lining up properly, the owl could have trouble with eating in the wild. Veterinarians were not able to find any signs of injury that has caused the misalignment.


Prosthesis - Nov 30 2018 12:01 pm

Due to the young age of the owl, veterinarians are able to attempt to correct the misalignment through the use of a prosthesis. This morning, veterinarians fashioned the prosthesis out of methyl methacrylate, a polymer that hardens and is often used by our veterinarians to make external fixation devices used to stabilize broken bones. The prosthesis attaches to the lower beak and keeps the upper beak aligned with the lower beak. As the owl grows, it will no longer need the prothesis and it will be removed. Since it is having to be tong-fed mouse pieces due to its age (that's what the blood in the photo is from), the prosthesis will not affect its ability to eat.


A Messy Eater - Dec 04 2018 9:11 am

Rehabilitation staff reports that the barn owl is gaining weight and doing well with its feedings. Although due to the prosthetic, it can be quite messy and the owlet has to be cleaned after each feed. It has gained about 50 grams since intake to the clinic.


A Turn for the Worse - Dec 05 2018 12:44 pm

Sadly, despite having been eating well and gaining weight, the little owl's health rapidly declined over the last 24 hours. Rehab staff found it laying on its side and not acting normal, so it was quickly moved into an oxygen chamber. Unfortunately, it passed away shortly after. A necropsy - an autopsy for an animal - was performed and found abnormalities in the owl's liver which may have been a congenital defect, leading the vets to believe the scissor beak was likely also a congenital defect.