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Winter raptors

Posted by tinsley hunsdorfer at Dec 14, 2012 05:15 PM |
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Dec. 14, 2012: It’s raptor season in the care center. Along with a host of other predatory birds, we are currently caring for seven Great Horned Owls, most of whom were hit by cars. This is a trend we see almost every year – in winter, an increasing number of raptors get caught in car collisions.

Winter raptors

Great Horned Owl - Tinsley Hunsdorfer

It’s raptor season in the care center. Along with a host of other predatory birds, we are currently caring for seven Great Horned Owls, most of whom were hit by cars. This is a trend we see almost every year – in winter, an increasing number of raptors get caught in car collisions.

Raptors often hunt by the side of the road, and this close proximity to cars results in bird-vehicle collisions. But why do the winter months bring an uptick in accidents?

It’s hard to know for sure, but the increase likely stems from two groups of raptors: young birds who are on their own for the first time and migrants who recently arrived in the area. Both are on the move as they seek new territory – putting them in the path of cars – and both are unfamiliar with local roads.

The Great Horned Owl pictured here was hit in Camas, Wash., and is being treated for head trauma and retinal damage to one eye. As always, staff and volunteers are taking things a day at a time with the injured bird, but it should be in good enough shape to move to a small flight cage once it completes a round of meds for parasites – a good sign.

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