Update on the Injured Short-eared Owl Fledgling

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Short-eared Owl fledgling caught on barbed wire

Short-eared Owl fledgling caught on barbed wire

I am sure that many of you remember the Short-eared Owl fledgling post I did nearly two weeks ago where we rescued it from being tangled up in the barbed wire fence. It was taken to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah (WRCNU) and the first update on its rehabilitation sounded good.

Update 06/20/2016: Good news! No broken bones, needed a few stitches, this little owl ate all its food and it looks like it can be released if it does well in rehab!

I was encouraged and hoped for the speedy recovery of the little fledgling owl.

Yesterday morning I got another update on the Short-eared Owl fledgling and the news wasn’t as good.

April Olson volunteers at WRCNU and she wrote the following:

The owl had extensive damage to the patagialis, and I am sorry, it will not be releasable. They are working to save it’s wing so it can be placed as an education bird.

The patagialis is an expandable membranous fold of skin between the wing and body of a bird and is necessary for flight.

So the good news is that the fledgling is still alive but the bad news is that it won’t be able to fly freely in the wild. However, by being used as an education bird the Short-eared Owl may touch people in a way that wild birds can’t because they will be able to see it up close.

I’m so sorry this Short-eared Owl fledgling won’t be released like the Barn Owl I helped to rescue in Montana but rescuing it from the barbed wire was still the right thing to do.


This is a photo of another Short-eared Owl fledgling taken the end of June, I hope this one remains wild and free.

Short-eared Owl fledgling takes parallaxing to the extremeShort-eared Owl fledgling takes parallaxing to the extreme


  1. Elephant's Child July 2, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    I am glad and sad.

  2. dinahmow July 2, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Thank you for the update.
    Having had an unreleasabe owl myself I can attest to their tremendous PR ability.

  3. Ilze Long July 2, 2016 at 9:34 am

    Thanks for the update. At least the little one is alive!

  4. Patty Chadwick July 2, 2016 at 8:34 am

    Sad news about owl. I hope to hell I does become an educator bird! And BIG pictures of how you found it accompanies it wherever it goes… A bird with one wing speaks far more powerfully than one with two. It deserves to be fed and pampered by humans for the rest of its life!!!

  5. Bob McPherson July 2, 2016 at 7:15 am

    Beautiful images, Mia. So glad you saved the little critter.

  6. Liz Cormack July 2, 2016 at 5:40 am

    Sad to hear that the fledgling will not be released. Let’s hope it will inspire young (& older) folks to respect nature by its beauty.

  7. Roger Burnard July 2, 2016 at 5:29 am

    Great news regarding the recover of the injured owl,
    followed by a beautiful, and funny picture of this one…
    life is good. ;-)))

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