The Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre has been dealing with an influx of snowy owls that can’t be nursed back to health this season.
Volunteer and director Dan Diawol said of the 17 snowy owls the centre took in between October 27 and December 17, 15 either died from starvation or had injuries that prevented them from being released back into the wild and were euthanized.
He said one owl was released back into the wild December 12 at Oak Hammock Marsh, and starving owl which arrived November 28 is still being cared for and recovering well.
Diawol said the influx isn’t unheard of. In 2015, the centre took in 22 snowy owls, the highest total in last least five years.
“It seems to be a phenomenon. Every few years there is a boom and a crash for the food for the snowy owls up north. They will almost over populate themselves, then they get a bust,” he said.
He said a 40 per cent release rate is considered good and the rate with snowy owls is low.
“In many cases they come iwith an injury or they don’t recover .. Once an animal come to us, they’re in pretty bad shape,” Diawol said.
He said the cold does affect certain birds, but not snowy owls.