Injured barred owl in Camden rescued, taken to Avian Haven

Thu, 11/17/2016 - 4:45pm

Story Location:
99 John Street
Camden, ME 04843
United States

    CAMDEN — A young barred owl is now under the watchful eye of wild bird rehabilitators Diane Winn and Marc Payne of Avian Haven in Freedom. The owl was found sitting on the ground, in the leaves on the side of John Street, near the entrance to Merry Garden Estates.

    “I was driving by and saw it sitting there,” said Paul Legasse of Hope. “I have no idea how long it’s been there or what happened to it.”

    Moments after Legasse stopped, a Camden Public Works truck drove out of their facility across the street, and slowed to find out what was happening. They offered to go up the road to P.A.W.S. Animal Adoption Center and borrow a pet carrier, and soon came back with one.

    Another bystander, Aaron Englander, stopped and brought a blanket over to help, and together with Public Works employee Tracy Harford, they were able to easily move the bird into the cage. The owl did not put up any resistance, stood on its own again inside the carrier and did not act fearful or show aggression to the humans trying to help it, both of which would have been normal behavior.

    The owl’s lack of defense was likely because it did not really know what was going on, or how to react.

    “We haven’t taken any X-rays yet, but after palpation we did not find any fractures,” said Winn. “Probably, by default, there is some sort of head trauma.”

    Winn said they have given the owl, which they believe to be a male, medications for pain and dehydration, and said they will now wait a couple of days to see if it will start eating. She said the bird remains lethargic and is in serious condition.

    I found a bird.
    Now what do I do?


    (Photo by Amy Campbell)

    Winn said the owl is a “hatch year” bird, meaning that it hatched this summer and is coming into its first cold weather.

    “This is a time when young barred owls of the year are dispersing from their parents’ territories and are looking for a place of their own,” said Winn. “They don't have - for lack of a better term - their street smarts yet.”

    These young hunting birds do frequently get hit by cars, she sad, as sometimes roads are a good place to find mice.

    “People throw things out their windows that attract mice, so while it’s a good place to hunt for these owls, it’s not a safe place to hunt,” said Winn.

    Winn said they don’t usually see injured owls in significant numbers until it’s a little colder, but this is the time of year when the young owls typically leave their parents’ territories and begin to hunt on their own, and they get into trouble in the process.

    At the moment, Winn said they have 15 owls in their care, which is more birds than they normally see when the weather is still warm.

    Winn said that accidents with owls are “all just unavoidable accidents,” because the birds come out of nowhere in the dark of night.

    Asked what she recommends to minimize the meet-ups, Winn said it’s common sense, “Drive carefully at night.”

    “Keep in mind that they are dispersing this time of year, and perhaps be aware that there could be a teenage owl on the loose trying to hunt, that they are not competent and they may be doing something clumsily,” said Winn. “Be aware and keep an eye out for young owls at night.”

    Related link:

    Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Barred Owl

    Reach Editorial Director Holly S. Edwards at and 207-706-6655.