On May 10, a young Eastern Screech-Owl fledgling from Lexington, Virginia, was admitted to the Wildlife Center. A homeowner found the young bird in a bush but noted that the owl did not look very healthy; the homeowner was able to capture and transport the bird to the Center.
Dr. Jenn, one of the Center's veterinary interns, examined the young bird when it arrived. The owl was alert but quiet. Dr. Jenn carefully examined the tiny owl and found that the bird had several bruises, as well as some matted feathers on its body. She found a couple of small lacerations and pinpoint puncture wounds that were actively bleeding; Dr. Jenn was able to clean the wounds and applied slight pressure to the injuries, though the bleeding persisted. This prolonged bleeding and inability to clot, called coagulopathy, can suggest rodenticide poisoning when seen in raptors.
Sadly, raptors that eat poisoned rodents are also affected by the toxic compounds in rodenticides; both target animals (rodents) and those who eat rodents will develop an inability to clot blood, which leads to a severe amount of internal bleeding, and ultimately, death. In this owl's case, it's likely that the bird only ingested a small amount of the rodenticide; in the days following admission, the owl remained quiet and alert and slowly started to show signs of improvement.
On May 13, the veterinary team noted that the young bird was not fully standing on its right leg; initial radiographs did not show any fractures, though it's likely that the owl may have suffered soft tissue trauma when it fell from the nest. The team is carefully monitoring the young screech-owl and offering a diet of chopped mice one time a day.