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Oklahoma State University
Center for Veterinary Health Sciences

Healthy Animals - Healthy People

FFA Joins OSU for Screech Owl Release

Wednesday, February 1 2017

a group of students releasing a screen owl

A group of students with the Guthrie Future Farmers of America joined Oklahoma State University’s Center for Veterinary Health Sciences to witness the recent release of a screech owl. The bird had been brought to the center’s Veterinary Medical Hospital approximately three weeks ago when FFA team leader Shawn Wellden found the owl.

“When he was found, the owl was unable to fly and had difficulties standing up,” explained Joao Brandao, LMV, MS, assistant professor of Zoological Medicine.  “According to his rescuer, he started to improve shortly after. With wild animals, it can be difficult to know exactly what happened, but based on the history, we suspect that he might have crashed into something. It is common, for example, for birds to crash into windows. Although many of these crashes can be severe, usually the bird stays stunned for a few moments and recovers after a short rest. That might have been the case with this owl, but we cannot be sure.

“When he arrived at the Veterinary Medical Hospital, his activity levels and demeanor were appropriate,” continued Brandao. “In order to assess his condition, we performed radiographs and blood work. Everything was normal. During his first days with us, he was not eating well on his own so we had to assist feeding him. Once he got the hang of it, he started eating well and continued to improve. As soon as the flight cage was available, we moved him outside where he could exercise his flight.”

Approximately 20 people were on hand to watch the owl fly away as it was released.

“We are very happy with his progression and that we were able to release him back into the wild in the same area where he was found,” said Brandao.

OSU’s Zoological Medicine Service treats approximately 500 wildlife cases each year. The average cost to care for each injured animal is $80. The service relies solely on donations from the public to cover the costs of treating Oklahoma’s wildlife. If you would like to support wildlife veterinary medical care, please contact Chris Sitz, senior director of development at the OSU Foundation, at or call (405) 385-5170.

Pictured above: Guthrie FFA members attend a screech owl release after the owl was treated at OSU’s Veterinary Medical Hospital.