Masked Owl Rescued from the Middle of the Road
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
This glorious male owl (named in care Owen Owl) was found in distress on a road in the mid-south coast area of NSW. Several cars were observed driving over the bird when Robert decided to stop to check and render assistance. Although initially thinking the bird was dead it came to as he picked it up but it was clearly injured. He immediately called WIRES.
We assume Owen had been involved in some sort of collision, most likely with a vehicle given his location on the road. Vet assessment determined it had a ruptured air sac and a contusion on the lung and was in care while those injuries healed. After a flight test it was decided Owen was ready to go back to the wild and he was happily released on Sunday evening. A great result for a beautiful and vulnerable species and thanks to everyone involved in his rescue and care.
Masked Owls are medium-sized forest-dwelling owls, with dark eyes set in a prominent flat, heart-shaped facial disc that is encircled by a dark border. They are similar to but larger than the Barn Owl and in contrast to Barn Owls have fully feathered legs down to the toes.
They exist in several color forms, with wide variation in plumage. In NSW their conservation status is listed as vulnerable.
Many assume it is mainly kangaroos involved in vehicle collisions but every year, hundreds of other species' lives are also lost on our roads, including owls and other birds of prey. Collisions with vehicles are one of the most common reasons for this, with many of the animals in need of rescue and ongoing care.
Incidents increase during the winter months due to our shorter days. The conditions mean a higher chance of contact with our native mammals when they are at their most active at dawn and dusk.
Animal collisions are most common in winter. The worst month is July.
They often feed close to the road where the food is plentiful and their behavior can be unpredictable, making it impossible for some drivers to miss them.
These factors combined mean cars and trucks are one of the biggest dangers facing our wildlife today.
We need your help. Winter is tough and we cannot do it without you.
Image thanks Sandy Collins