Pygmy owl recovers from concussion

This pygmy owl, which makes its inaugural appearance April 21,

In November 2004, a Northern Pygmy Owl flew into a house window
in the coastal redwoods area of Eureka, Calif. It had suffered a
concussion and was brought to Humboldt Wildlife Center in Arcata
for care and rehabilitation.
In November 2004, a Northern Pygmy Owl flew into a house window in the coastal redwoods area of Eureka, Calif. It had suffered a concussion and was brought to Humboldt Wildlife Center in Arcata for care and rehabilitation.

He seemed to be recovering well until he was placed in a flight aviary, and it was apparent that he was unable to fly and could only hop and flutter around.

His flight ability didn’t improve, so after three months, he was deemed not releasable. Perfect flight is especially important to Pygmy Owls since they are diurnal (day-hunting) owls and must compete with mammals and hawks for rodents and birds, while avoiding being mobbed (attacked) by songbirds. As a defense, the Pygmy Owl has distinctive markings on the back of its head which mimic an owl’s eyes and beak.

But good things were in store for the tiny adult owl, which measures only 6 inches long.

He was transferred to the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center on Feb. 8. In otherwise perfect health, but incapable of true flight because of an injury to a wing ligament, the feisty little owl has joined W.E.R.C. as its newest educational animal ambassador and will soon be visiting schools and public events.

He will be making his inaugural appearances April 21 at the Chamber of Commerce mixer at the Animal Care Center, Morgan Hill and April 23 at the Earth Day Celebration at Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy. You are invited to come and meet him.

To celebrate the occasion, W.E.R.C. is inviting the public to help name the owl. The winner will receive a one-year sponsorship of the owl, which includes a certificate with his picture.

Submit as many names as you wish. Each name submitted should have the reason or meaning of the name. Be sure to include your own name plus your email and/or phone number. Send to [email protected] or mail to P.O. Box 1105, Morgan Hill, CA 95038. Subject line should read “Contest.” Contest ends June 10, 2005.

W.E.R.C., the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center, provides the community with rehabilitation services for orphaned, injured and sick native wildlife. Through their educational programs, W.E.R.C. encourages a peaceful coexistence between civilization and our native wildlife. To contact W.E.R.C. call (408) 779-9372 or visit www.werc-ca.org.

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