Simon: Burrowing Owl

Simon is a male burrowing owl

Rescuers found this charming little Burrowing Owl in their driveway in West Sacramento in February 2010. It fluttered about, clearly unable to fly, so these Good Samaritans brought it to the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the School of Veterinary Medicine. X-rays and examination at the VMTH revealed a fracture of the left wing that had already formed a stable callus. The veterinarians sent the owl to the California Raptor Center (CRC) for medical rehabilitation.

Even with physical therapy and flight exercise, however, this Burrowing Owl never developed good flight, and so is non-releasable. It now lives in a cage with several Western Screech Owls.

Since Burrowing Owls are largely diurnal, he sometimes perches in the open, on a branch in one of the trees growing in the cage. The bird's coloring is almost indistinguishable from the bark of the tree, so visitors often do not spot it. At other times it may sit on the ground near one of the artificial burrows—the black tubes on the floor of the cage. When it sees people looking at it, it sometimes gives a soft chittering whistle, the Burrowing Owl's alarm cry, and then skitters into its burrow.

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