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Barred Owl Rescue

The hotline received a call at 10:30pm on Tuesday, November 15th from a resident of Franklin County, Missouri.  The caller explained that he was driving down Hwy 100 and saw something in the road up ahead.  As he got closer, he realized that it was an owl, and it was very much alive.  Thinking that the owl was sure to get hit by a passing car with it being in the middle of the road, the caller got out of his car and approached the owl.  He tried to ‘shoo’ it to the shoulder of the road, but the owl wouldn’t budge.  Finally he decided to pick it up and place it on the side of the road, which the owl gladly allowed him to do.  This is NOT normal.  An owl, or any injured animal, should not allow people to approach it, pick it up, carry it around without a fight.  But the owl did not fight.  When he tried to place it on the shoulder, out-of-the-way of cars, the owl seemed to have trouble standing up at all, and he did not try to move or fly away.

The man and his wife called their daughter, who once worked in the veterinary field in the St. Louis area but since then has moved to Washington state.  After a moment of searching, their daughter found our hotline number and told them to call us.  When we received the call, we asked the finder if he saw any other owls watching this one, or flying overhead protectively, and the caller did not see any others.  We asked them if they could please transport it to Hwy 44 and Bowles Ave where we could meet them and deliver the owl to World Sanctuary first thing in the morning.

(Photos here are of healthy Barred Owls, how they should look when well)

The caller explained how nice the owl was, and how it was seemingly enjoying being petted.  We explained that the animal may be in shock, have a head injury, or another non visible injury, and that this was not normal behavior for an owl – especially an adult owl.  The caller asked if he could just keep him, to which we explained that doing so would be a federal crime.  These birds are federally protected by law, and only the properly licensed rehabilitation centers are legally allowed to care for them.  Those rehab centers always strive to re-release the animal, so we assured him that the owl would be in good hands.

We waited for the finders at 44 & Bowles Ave, and as the couple drove up we could see that a woman was driving the car, and a man with welder’s gloves on was just casually holding the owl in the front passenger’s seat.  Again, this is NOT normal!  That owl should have struggled, tearing into him with her talons, and flapping her wings like crazy.  The fact that she wasn’t doing any of those things was extremely troubling.  We briefly examined the owl and determined that it was a Barred Owl, a fairly common owl in Missouri.  She did not have any visible injuries, but she did act lethargic, depressed, and was unwilling to open her right eye all the way.  We attempted to check the eye, but decided that the stress was too much for now and placed her in a cage to rest.

First thing in the morning, we delivered the Barred Owl to World Bird Sanctuary, inside Lone Elk Park in Fenton, Missouri.  The technicians there did a full head to talon examination and found no broken bones, no visible injuries on admission.  However, she was underweight, and they agreed that she was extremely depressed and generally not acting right.  They admitted the owl and kept her for observation.

We checked in on her yesterday, November 17th, after she had been hospitalized two days and were told that her blood work showed her as being extremely anemic, dehydrated, and emaciated.  She also has shown no interest in food since admission into the hospital.  The great folks at World Bird have decided to provide supportive care for now and attempt to get her appetite back.  We wish them luck and hope that our little owl is back in the woods healthy and flying as soon as possible.

Please visit World Bird Sanctuary’s site to donate, view their hospital, and learn more about what they do.  You can view different owls, raptors, and all birds of prey in their sanctuary seven days a week from 8am – 5pm, and it’s free!  To learn more about Missouri’s owls think about participating in World Bird’s Owl Prowls going on from November – March.  Click HERE to learn more.

  1. Thank you so much for such an important site and providing guidance and assistance with your hotline number. I have entered the phone number on my cell phone and will tell others about it and your site. What a great site! Love the blog section and all the info! Thanks again! Also, what can we do to see that our beautiful Lone Elk Park remains ours to enjoy FOREVER?? I live in Florissant but LOVE Visiting Both the WBS and LEP.

  2. I’m so glad i found this sight.I also put the phone number in my cell. So if i see any animal in trouble i will call. It’s so nice to know that you and your stalf helps these animals. That there not left alone.