Sometimes it just takes a few mice to make an owl feel like giving a hoot.
The ailing, wayward snowy owl that was rescued in downtown Omaha appeared to be rebounding Tuesday after a day of nourishment provided by Nebraska Raptor Recovery.
“She's starting to feel a lot better,” said Denise Lewis, the organization's outreach coordinator. “She's still in critical condition, but she's showing good progress.''
The 6-month-old owl's eyes appeared brighter, and it clacked its beak more. Owls clack as a warning.
Using a syringe, Lewis fed the emaciated and dehydrated bird cocktails of Pedialyte and Carnivore Care — “mouse in a can'' — to provide vital vitamins and minerals before attempting a meatier diet of newborn mice.
The hairless, pink, raisin-size mice are often used to reintroduce a common prey to an ailing bird, Lewis said.
“I had to force feed them to her, but once she got the taste for them she did OK,” Lewis said.
The owl got its first full-size mouse at midafternoon Tuesday. If the meal stayed down, Lewis planned to offer more mice.
The starving owl weighed less than 2 pounds when captured without resistance near the Hilton Omaha. Lewis said a healthy snowy owl should weigh about 5 pounds.
Snowy owls are Arctic birds with radiant white plumage and are rarely seen in Nebraska. Wildlife biologists theorize that they migrate south in search of food, but they can't survive here.
Lewis will take the owl to Raptor Recovery's rehabilitation center near Lincoln to continue its recovery Thursday night. “All of Omaha has their fingers crossed for her,” she said.
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