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The place for wild birds.

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)

Adult Barred Owl, recovering from illness caused by improper diet.

2. Adult Barred Owl,
finally able to perch

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 released.


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, in trouble.

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:

Licensed Wildlife 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 at once.

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This website and all its contents belong to The Place for Wild Birds, Inc.
Copyright © 2002, all rights reserved. Reproduce only with permission.
All photographs by Walter S. Bezaniuk. Most illustrations by Kathleen Frisbie.
Site design by and some illustrations by Sara.