On April 14, the Center admitted two juvenile Great Horned Owls that were transferred from permitted wildlife rehabilitator Susan Shepperson. Both owlets are suspected orphans and were transferred to the Center to be paired with Papa G’Ho, the Center’s ambassador Great Horned Owl who acts as a surrogate parent to orphaned Great Horned Owls. By pairing these owlets with Papa G'Ho, it should prevent them from imprinting on humans and help them learn the natural owl behaviors they need to survive in the wild so they can eventually be released.
Great Horned Owlet #22-0490 – On April 4, this owlet was found inside a newly constructed house in a subdivision of Powhatan County, with no apparent nest or adults nearby. The rescuer brought the owlet to permitted wildlife rehabilitator Susan Shepperson for an initial evaluation, and it was transferred to the Center two weeks later.
Dr. Emily, one of the Center's veterinary interns, examined the bird on arrival and did not find any injuries. Bloodwork and radiographs both came back normal, though a fecal sample tested positive for two types of intestinal parasites. After the exam, Dr. Emily started the owlet on a course of anti-parasitic medication, administered fluids, and placed the bird in a crate in Metals, one of the Center’s outdoor holding areas designed to reduce patient stress. Once the owlet goes through a fourteen-day quarantine period to ensure it does not show symptoms of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), the rehabilitation staff plan to start acclimating the owlet with Papa G’Ho.
Great Horned Owlet #22-0489 – On April 1, this owlet was found in a hayfield in Nottoway County. No nest was found in the area, so the finder brought the owlet to permitted wildlife rehabilitator Susan Shepperson. After a couple of weeks under her care, Susan transferred the owlet to the Center.
On admission, the owlet was bright and alert. Center veterinary intern Dr. Emily examined the bird and did not find any injuries. Its bloodwork came back normal, and radiographs did not reveal any abnormalities. After completing her exam, Dr. Emily placed the owlet in a crate in Metals, one of the Center’s outdoor holding areas. After a quarantine period to ensure the owl does not have HPAI, the owlet will start its introduction with Papa G’Ho.
These two owlets are currently housed next to each other and are fed two times a day by the rehabilitation staff while they are in their quarantine period. In an ideal scenario, the young owlets would be introduced to Papa G'Ho and owlet #22-0294 quickly, but to keep Papa and the other owlet safe, the Center has a number of biosecurity measures in place. Both owlets have a fair prognosis, though there is still a possibility that they could imprint on humans.