Increase in Owl Admissions
Article Date: 2004-12-15 Source: http://www.ahc.umn.edu
By Sue Kirchoff
St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A. - An unusually large number of northern owls, particularly great grey owls, have been admitted to The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota in recent weeks. Veterinarians suspect that the unusual number of owl admissions indicates that an owl ''invasion'' is underway.
Owl invasions or irruptions occur during cyclic lows in the owls' prey
populations (voles, lemmings, and other small rodents) in the owls' normal
winter habitat, which includes much of Canada and northern Minnesota. During the
prey population's low points, which occur every 7 to 12 years, the owls are
forced south from their usual habitat in search of food.
"Although this southern movement is normal in years when the owls' food sources
are scarce up north, an invasion brings them in closer contact with humans,
often to the owls' disadvantage," said Julia Ponder, D.V.M., a veterinarian at
The Raptor Center. "Many of these birds are hit by cars or suffer other
Since Nov. 1, The Raptor Center has admitted 25 northern owls – 23 great gray
owls and 2 northern hawk owls. These owls have received treatments ranging from
supportive medical care to advanced orthopedic surgery. Seven great gray owls
and one northern hawk owl are currently hospitalized at the center. In a typical
year, the center sees only one or two of the elusive birds.
This is not the first great gray owl invasion that The Raptor Center has
experienced. During the winter of 1995-1996, the center admitted 15 great gray
owls, most from the Twin Cities area.
The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota specializes in the medical
care, rehabilitation, and conservation of eagles, hawks, owls, and falcons. In
addition to treating approximately 800 birds a year, the program provides
training in raptor medicine and surgery for veterinarians from around the world,
reaches more than 150,000 people each year through public education programs and
events, and identifies emerging issues related to raptor health and populations.
A program within the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, The
Raptor Center is supported by private funds.
Disclaimer: This article has been reproduced from http://www.ahc.umn.edu and placed here for comment.
OwlPages.com is not responsible for the accuracy of any information in this article, and does not necessarily agree with the author's opinions.
2005-06-06 - Great horned owl now protected in Minnesota by Jeff Dankert - St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.
2005-03-29 - Foundation helps Raptor Center with gray owl care by Jerret Raffety - St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.
2005-03-17 - Under proposed legislation, great horned owl to be taken off list of unprotected birds in Minnesota by T.W. Budig - St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.
2005-03-17 - Raptor Center treating more owl patients by Steven John - St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.
2005-03-01 - Raptor Center helping more owls by Jerret Raffety - St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.
2005-02-23 - Owl invasion draws birders to Minnesota by Chris Niskanen - St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.
2005-01-25 - Owls traveling south in large numbers by David Hill - St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.
2004-12-18 - Northern Grey Owls Found In City - St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.
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