Snowy owl caught in Cox's Cove on its way to Salmonier Nature Park

Gary Kean
Published on February 4, 2014
This injured snowy owl caught in Cox’s Cove Monday has been transported to the Salmonier Nature Park in eastern Newfoundland for further assessment and rehabilitation.
Submitted photo

CORNER BROOK  The injured snowy owl captured in the Cox’s Cove area of the Bay of Islands has been transported to the Salmonier Nature Park for some rest and rehabilitation.

And probably a few free meals too.

The bird was wrangled up by some local residents after it was spotted near the town’s fish plant around midday Monday. The raptor’s captors had suspected it was injured, possibly having a broken wing.

The owl was turned over to the Department of Environment and Conservation for an assessment later Monday afternoon.

That job fell to Bruce Rodrigues, a wildlife ecologist with the department. His preliminary assessment did not confirm any broken bones.

“The owl did have some bruising on one of its wings and that could possibly be a sign there is something broken, but I couldn’t say for sure from my assessment,” said Rodrigues.

His examination consisted of feeling along the owl’s wing. Rodrigues also felt along the bird’s keel bone to see how much fat it had on its body.

“It was a little undernourished,” he said. “So, I fed it a rat and a mouse and it gulped those down.”

Other than that, Rodrigues said the owl seemed to be bright and in relatively good shape.

There just happened to be someone heading from the Corner Brook area to the Salmonier Nature Park Tuesday morning, so Rodrigues handed the owl over to be transported to the east coast facility. The park is often the destination for injured wild animals that could possibly be released back into the wild when they are healthy enough.

A veterinarian will make a complete assessment of the owl at the Salmonier Nature Park after its arrival.

While there have been an unusually high number of snowy owl sightings in eastern Newfoundland this year, their numbers are not quite as plentiful in western Newfoundland. Still, Rodrigues said the numbers reported in western Newfoundland do seem slightly higher than normal this winter.

He said there have been sightings in Gros Morne and further up the Northern Peninsula, as well as further south in the Port aux Basques area.