Home' The River Weekly News : RWN 120415 Contents 13
THE RIVER - DECEMBER 4, 2015
CROW Case Of The Week:
Eastern Screech Owls
by Patricia Molloy
While it is quite common
for several patients of
the same species to
undergo treatment at CROW
during the same time period,
it is rather unusually for three
unrelated patients to be admit-
ted within a day of one another
after being injured in similar,
but separate, incidents. This is
precisely what occurred when
three screech owls, all of which were likely hit-by-a-car
cases, were admitted over the same November week-
Eastern screech owls (Megascops asio) are one of
the smallest species of owls in the world, standing only
6.3 to 9.8 inches tall. They are strictly nocturnal hunt-
ers who are difficult to detect during daylight hours
due to their habit of occupying old woodpecker holes
and natural cavities of trees. These regal avians are
best known for their large repertoire of vocalizations
that includes rasps, barks, chuckles and whinnies.
Their distinctive sounds are frequently used to “set the
mood” in movie and television scenes.
The first to arrive was patient #15-3142. “He
came in with a leg wound,” Dr. Molly explained.
“He developed a pretty significant superficial corneal
ulcer on the right eye. We’ve done a few cotton swab
debridements, so it’s been a week now. We did a little
more debriding yesterday and we’re going to see how
that goes over the next few days then decide what we
need to do. He’s still on eye drops at this point and
As for the second screech owl, patient #15-3153,
Dr. Molly said,“He had some left ear and eye trauma,
but is still fully visual. We are putting him through a
course of Baytril (an antibacterial) with that and check-
ing his bloodwork again today, then likely moving him
Even though the third screech owl had injuries con-
sistent with a car collision, patient #15-3171 was not
found where one might expect. “He was found on a
bike path,” Dr. Molly said. “But he definitely was not
hit by a mere bicycle.”
The DVM intern continued, “There were really no
significant exam findings: radiographs, bloodwork, etc.
were fairly normal, so he was mainly depressed and a
little mentally dull. But other than that, he only had a
minor (eye injury). He will likely be moved outside very
soon to an outdoor small flight enclosure. If his flight
looks good, we’ll go from there.”
Fortunately for these three patients, the people
who found them quickly contacted CROW for advice
on how to gently collect the injured owls and deliver
them safely to the wildlife clinic. Each bird had fairly
good body conditions, which would indicate that they
had not been down for days at a time.
Once each patient has regained its strength and
stamina, these magnificent screech owls with the
bright yellow eyes will be released to once again whin-
ny and hoot under the cloak of darkness.
CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife,
Inc.) is a non-profit wildlife hospital providing vet-
erinary care for native and migratory wildlife from
our local area. The hospital accepts patients seven
days a week from 8 a.m . to 5 p.m . Mail donations
to PO Box 150, Sanibel, FL 33957. Call 472-3644
or visit: www.crowclinic.org.
All three screech owls will likely be releasable after treatment by
CROW’s expert wildlife staff. Here, one perches quietly in an out-
The Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission (FWC)
rescued a 4-month-old female pan-
ther kitten in Collier County earlier this
month. The kitten was likely orphaned
when her mother was struck and killed
by a vehicle on U.S . 41 near Collier-
Seminole State Park.
When they responded to the scene,
FWC staff did not observe any kittens in
the area. However, in early October, park
staff had photographed a female panther
with three kittens.
A construction worker saw and pho-
tographed an emaciated panther kitten
in the Collier-Seminole State Park camp-
ground, which is about a half-mile from
where the female was killed.
The FWC responded to the location
and set up traps to try to capture the
kitten. The next day, park staff discov-
ered the remains of an approximately
4-month-old male kitten. FWC staff con-
tinued trapping efforts and, late in the
evening on November 2, successfully cap-
tured a 4-month-old female panther kitten
in woods adjacent to the campground.
The FWC immediately transported the
kitten to a new rehabilitation facility that
opened earlier this year at the Naples
Two days later, the FWC responded
to a third sighting of a panther kitten in
the area and observed an underweight
kitten retreating into the woods. Staff
once again set traps and deployed trail
cameras to try rescuing the last kitten.
Unfortunately, after over a week, there
was no additional sign of the panther kit-
ten and rescue efforts were suspended.
“We are grateful to everyone who pro-
vided us with the information that led to
the successful capture of this kitten,” said
FWC panther biologist Dr. Dave Onorato.
Because the panther was orphaned at
such a young age, it will not be possible
to return her to the wild. While she is
acclimating to her new surroundings, the
kitten will not be on display to the public.
She is likely to stay behind the scenes at
Naples Zoo at least several weeks while
a determination is made regarding a
permanent home. When she is placed in
a permanent home, her story will be a
valuable tool in educating the public about
panther conservation, what the FWC
does and what the public can do to help.
Drivers are encouraged to reduce
speed in posted panther zones to help
lower the risk of collisions like the one
that orphaned these kittens. Changing
three-mile-long panther zone only adds
one minute of driving time. Florida resi-
dents can support conservation efforts
like the rescue of this kitten by purchasing
a Protect The Panther license plate at
BuyaPlate.com. Fees from license plate
sales are the primary funding source for
the FWC’s research and management of
For more information on Florida pan-
thers, visit www.floridapanthernet.org.
The orphaned femaile panther kitten sits in
a cage following being rescued
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Free Estuary Excursions
Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center will be conducting free estuary excur-
sions at Ponce De Leon Park in Punta Gorda beginning at 9 a.m . on the follow-
December 5 and 21; January 1, 16 and 18.
After an introductory program on aquatic environments, participants will walk a
short distance to Charlotte Harbor (the largest protected estuary in the world) where,
using dip nets and hand viewers, they will venture into the mangrove forest and sea-
grass laden waters in search of aquatic animals.
This exciting hands-on activity is both educational and entertaining for people of all
ages. Participation is limited, therefore pre-registration is necessary for these free pro-
grams. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
For further information or to register, call Alligator Creek Preserve at 941-575-
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