Cox’s Cove residents round up snowy owl believed to be injured

Gary Kean
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Wildlife officials in western Newfoundland expect to have an assessment done today on a snowy owl brought to them from some residents of Cox’s Cove Monday.

The majestic white bird with the tell-tale yellow eyes was noticed by some residents in the town at the end of the north shore of the Bay of Islands highway around midday.

Darren Payne was one of the first to spot the owl. He said it seemed to be injured and was being bothered by crows near the town’s fish plant.

Those who were there decided to retrieve a kennel, a blanket and a dip net to see if they could capture the animal and deliver it to wildlife authorities. By the time those materials were gathered, someone had already managed to catch the owl.

“One of the b’ys from the plant walked in behind the plant and caught it,” Payne said. “We brought it to the kennel and I took it up to my garage.”

The Department of Environment and Conservation was contacted and arrangements made for a wildlife officer to have the owl picked up. The transfer was made in Meadows, where Payne met the officer from Corner Brook later Monday afternoon.

Payne said the owl appeared to have a broken wing.

“You can see it has its wing hurt, on the inside of the wing,” he said.

No one from the Department of Environment and Conservation was available to discuss the owl Monday. A spokesperson said the department wanted to assess the owl for possible injuries before discussing it or deciding what to do with it.

Wild animals found injured are often transported to the Salmonier Nature Park in eastern Newfoundland for rehabilitation, when possible. It remains to be seen if that will be the fate of this owl.

Eastern Newfoundland has experienced an unusually high number of snowy owls this winter. An article published late last fall by TC Media said 42 snowy owls were spotted in one day along the Cape Race road on the southern Avalon Peninsula.

“This was a staggering total of snowy owls for anywhere in North America,” wrote Telegram columnist Bruce Mactavish, the environmental consultant and avid birdwatcher who authored the article published Nov. 30.


The Western Star

Organizations: Department of Environment and Conservation

Geographic location: Bay of Islands, Newfoundland, Meadows Corner Brook Salmonier Nature Park Cape Race Southern Avalon Peninsula North America Western Star

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