By Vanessa Broadbent
A family of great horned owls is back in the wild after spending nearly three months in care at the SORCO Raptor Rehab Centre.
On Sunday afternoon three owls – Dawn, Cory and Boots – were released from Burrowing Owl Winery.
The owls, a mother and two chicks, only a few weeks old, are named after the family that found them at an Oliver campground in May.
Dale Belvedere, SORCO’s manager, received a call that an owl was seen in the campground for three days, along with her babies.
“When I got there, mom was sitting on a picnic table. I went up to her and I knew right away that she was blind and couldn’t fly,” Belvedere said.
The owl’s condition was a result of rodent poison used by one of the neighbouring properties.
“The chances are that her babies had eaten rodents had ingested the poison as well,” Belvedere said.
The owls were taken into SORCO’s care and treated with an antidote for the poison for 12 days.
Thankfully, the owls were discovered early enough for the antidote to work and after a few months of care the family was ready to once again live in the wild.
“All in all, a happy ending, but a very scary start.”
However, Belvedere noted that not all raptors have the same luck and rodent poison not only has a deadly affect on rats and mice but the animals that eat them as well.
“It’s something that has to stop. You’re not only affecting raptors but people’s cats as well.”
Dawn and her babies’ public release is one of many that SORCO hosts to raise awareness for raptors in the area.
On Sunday, July 29 three more great horned owl chicks will be released into the wild at Road 13 Vineyard at 2:00 p.m.