Dec 24, 2013

Bizarre Impalement

It was the morning before Christmas when WES received a call from a local Wildlife Officer with the Department of Fish and Wildlife. He was responding to an incident in Morgan Hill involving an owl stuck on a roof, possibly impaled. Duane and Rebecca responded to assist.

On scene, they found a great horned owl impaled on the spire of a large two-story home.

Somehow, in a freak accident, the pointed conical shaped structure pierced the owl's left wing through, what would be the forearm on a human - the radius and ulna. 

Compare human and bird anatomy, HERE.

According to the homeowner had heard noises on the rooftop the day before, but thought it was coming from the attic. We believe the owl had been stuck for at least a day.

Duane used a ladder to access the roof, and carefully made his way across the clay tiles.

As he neared the owl, he noticed the fresh carcass of an American coot. The owl's last kill. There were bones nearby, too, indicating the tower was frequently used by predatory birds. 

We believe the owl was landing on the tower to consume the coot, when the bizarre accident happened - on a downward flap, the spire pierced its wing. 

Duane gently lifted the raptor up and off the sharp pinnacle, and, with help from the warden, he placed the bird inside a dark sack to keep it quiet and calm. Check out the rescue video:

The owl was placed inside a transport carrier and quickly delivered to the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley.

The bird was seen immediately, but, unfortunately, the injuries were too severe. In struggling to get free, the owl dislocated its shoulder and there was a tremendous amount of tissue damage. The owl was euthanized.

The homeowners have plans to attach a ball to the point of the spire so this never happens again.

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