Birds back in the wild

The Tawny Frogmouth that has been released back into the wild.

By Jed Lanyon

Two of Australia’s most impressive birds of prey have been released back into the wild, thanks to some quick thinking by the veterinary team at Healesville Sanctuary.

A Tawny Frogmouth and a Barn Owl were brought into the Australian Wildlife Health Centre (AWHC) at the sanctuary in the same week, sporting very different injuries.

AWHC veterinary nurse Ellen Richmond said both birds were found in the local area.

“The Tawny Frogmouth was found in Nar Nar Goon, unable to fly and quite weak.

“A wound was also found on the wing, which was stitched up by the team,” she said.

Once blood tests returned to normal and weight had increased to a normal range, the tawny was trained within flight tunnels at the hospital to improve his fitness, before being released back into the wild.

Contrary to how they may appear, Tawny Frogmouths aren’t a type of owl, but another species of nocturnal bird called a night jar.

Unlike owls, Tawny Frogmouths use their beaks, not their feet to catch prey, which are generally quite weak and only used for perching.

Tawny Frogmouths usually build their nests in a tree fork, whereas an owl will use a tree hollow or steal the nest of another bird.

In a fitting coincidence with his name, the Barn Owl was found in a barn in Warburton.

“The Barn Owl showed an abnormal red blood cell count, which the vets most likely attributed to eating rat bait – unfortunately a common occurrence for a lot of owls who prey on rodents,” said Ms Richmond.

Luckily for this guy, a speedy diagnosis lead to swift and effective treatment.

Following a little fitness training to get him in full flight mode, he was released back in to the wild near where he was found.

If you find injured wildlife, staff at the AWHC asks that you take them to the nearest vet, wildlife carer or the AWHC for their best chance at survival.

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