There are two photos on this page:
1. Adult Barred Owl,
recovering from liver failure caused by an
improper diet of cat food while in captivity (illegally)
2. Adult Barred Owl,
finally able to perch
The Barred Owl is a medium-sized member of the Owl family
and related to the Eastern
Screech Owl. It feeds mostly on small mammals such as mice,
but has been known to eat other things such as fish and insects.
This bird of prey sometimes nests in cavities and begins nesting
as early as February. The Barred Owl has a generally calm, easy-going
temperament, and is nocturnal. This species has brown eyes (unlike
most Owls, which are yellow-eyed), and does not have "ear"
tufts. Barred Owls are not generally known to migrate to the
tropics in winter.
This Barred Owl was brought to us in poor condition after
being fed the incorrect diet in captivity. Its liver had been
damaged by eating cat food, but because the liver is an organ
that can regenerate, this bird fully recovered after treatment
and correct diet. Happily, after a long stay he was eventually
This lovely wild creature almost lost his life through
wrong actions taken with only the best intentions. He is a perfect
example of why it is necessary to get
the right help when you find a wild bird, or any wild animal,
We at The Place for Wild Birds naturally support the impulse
many people feel to help wildlife in trouble. Part of our mission
is not only to let you know that it's possible to help more often
than most people think, but also to explain how to do it properly.
The main way to do it properly is to obtain qualified assistance, immediately.
So, at the risk of repeating ourselves, let us just restate:
Rehabilitators are experienced in helping wildlife. While
most veterinarians, zoo staff, pet store owners, pet bird owners,
and civilian animal lovers may feel passionately about helping
and caring for animals, unless they have chosen to seek out and
obtain extensive special training, it is unlikely that they really
know the correct foods and procedures to help wildlife return
safely and healthily to the wild.
This does not mean that if you find a wild animal in trouble
you must stand by and do nothing. Help for you and any animal
you may find is available. Though no licensed Wildlife Specialist
can save every sick or injured animal, even this poor little
owl, who was very nearly killed with misinformed kindness, was
fully rehabilitated and released back to the wild when finally
allowed to receive the attention of a licensed Wildlife Specialist. Amazing things are possible,
but not without very specific knowledge and skill.
We cannot say it often enough. If you find a wild animal
in trouble, bird or otherwise, please contact a licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator