We have been planning a new phase of this project and submitted a grant request to NWRA (National Association of Wildlife Rehabilitators) for partial sponsorship.
The project leader will be Dr. John Means, a local veterinarian and Center for Wildlife Board member.
The project abstract is as follows: Platform transmitting terminals (PTTs) will be affixed to two rehabilitated owls with unilateral ocular trauma. Their movements and survivorship will be tracked after release. The birds, a barred owl (Strix varia) and a great horned owl (Bubo virginianus), will be made available by the Center for Wildlife, in Cape Neddick, Maine. Both birds will be kept in rehabilitation until change in the visible damage to the eye (as assessed by opthalmascope) has ceased, indicating that remaining damage is permanent. Degree of ocular damage will be assessed by a veterinarian upon initial admission to Center for Wildlife, and again just prior to release. After undergoing rehabilitation, exhibiting adequate flight capability (as determined by staff rehabilitators), and demonstrating the ability to capture live prey in a large flight enclosure, the owls will be released back to the territory in which they were found. They will be tracked as long as possible, and a visual confirmation will be attempted if the birds do not move substantially for a week. If a bird dies, attempts will be made to recover the carcass, at which time radiographs and necropsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death.
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