Thursday, March 9, 2017

Owlet, Duckling Get Second Chance

A Great Horned Owlet, found on the ground after a recent storm, 
is now in the care of wildlife rehabilitators at Sallisaw Veterinary Clinic.
Tiffany Murray, wildlife rehabilitator at Sallisaw Veterinary Clinic, 
is raising a duckling, found alone and slightly injured at Gans School. 

A three-week-old Great Horned Owl will be growing up under the care of wildlife rehabilitators Dr. Gary Cox, Tiffany Murray and Crystal Wilson at Dr. Cox’s Sallisaw Veterinary Clinic.

The baby owl was found in a pasture after a spring storm raced through the county and apparently blew the owlet from its nest on March 3.

Cox said it will be at least six to eight weeks before the baby fledges and learns how to use its new wings, fly and feed itself.

Until then, it gets a meal of a frozen mouse three times a day.

And it doesn’t particularly like its human foster parents. Approach the baby and it clacks its bill incessantly and spreads its wings so that it looks twice as big as it actually is. That’s a defense mechanism, Cox said, to intimidate possible predators.

The owlet joins a growing group of birds needing rehab. The clinic also has a bald eagle, two hawks, and a baby duck, along with a baby rabbit. The birds of prey eat mice, both live and frozen.

“Better order some more mice,” Cox told his staff.

Murray said frozen mice cost about $1.50 apiece, and with four birds of prey needing a good meal, the clinic is going through mice pretty fast. The clinic orders a couple hundred mice at a time, she said.

“The price of mice is going up,” Murray said.

Wildlife rehabilitators, she explained, are responsible for the feeding and care of the critters they take on to raise, and right now the clinic is in need of funds for mice and to finish a flight cage so the eagle and hawks can flex their wings. Soon, the owlet will also need that flight cage.

Anyone wishing to help feed, raise and care for the wildlife may drop off a donation at the clinic at 34500 W. Cherokee in Sallisaw, may call the clinic to make a credit or debit card donation at 918-775-6182, or may donate at the clinic’s Go Fund Me page at

Murray has also taken on a different baby bird to raise and care for. She has a baby duck found in the garden at Gans School. The duckling is simply yellow, and the rehabilitators do not know yet what kind of duck they are raising. They won’t know until its feathers begin coming in Cox said.

Murray said the duckling was found with a naked neck, where the down had been scraped away. They suspect some sort of predator may have grabbed the duckling for a quick meal, but the baby escaped somehow. The duckling is now dining on farm store feed and is growing quickly.

For more information on helping the rehabilitators give wildlife a second chance, contact the clinic at 918-775-6182.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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