The red tailed hawk from the 1-21 update took a decided turn for the worse the very afternoon I worked on the website, beginning to have seizures and rip at her wing, so after a phone discussion with Steve Hicks of Bubba & Friends raptor rehab, we opted for that final vet trip. There were obviously issues we couldn’t see and I hated to euthanize, but I hated more watching her suffer.
The same week that she came in, LWR received yet another red screech owl, a male this time, and a barred owl. The screech was in fairly good shape aside from a concussion and an eye injury, so he’s with Steve now; the barred owl had severe head trauma that resulted in massive seizures, complete with piteous moans. Again, after consulting Steve, I had the barred owl euthanized.
As I said in the last update, this is not a pleasant time of year. Steve swears, only half-jokingly, there will be no orphaned raptors this year because he has all the adults in rehab—and there are days I think he’s right. The cold, wet weather has made it difficult for raptors and songbirds alike to find food, and the raptors are getting so desperate that they’re taking chances they wouldn’t normally take. It’s that or starve. Unfortunately, those chances frequently end in disaster, with the bird brought to rehabbers so severely injured that euthanasia is the only option.
Why put him back in an area where he might not be so lucky the next time? He’s an adult, which means he has an established territory that he needs to be returned to; also, he more than likely has a mate who may be on the nest now and will soon be needing his help with babies.