Wildlife Center: Florida’s tiniest owls treated for injuries, likely hit by cars

Reporter: Erika Jackson Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

The tiniest owl species in our state and region is in need of immediate help. More and more of the tiny birds are likely being hit by cars in Southwest Florida. Wildlife activists are working to nurse a number of them back to health.

Peace River Wildlife Center in Punta Gorda is treating an influx of injured screech owls, the smallest owl in Florida.

The injured birds have the chance to live a full life but are not strong enough to survive in the wild.

“Magnificent animals,” Heard said. “We got to make sure that we protect their habitat, so that they can thrive and be with us for years to come.”

But these eastern screech owls need a little extra help. The Peace River center’s hospital is treating an influx of the protected birds after good Samaritans brought seven to the center in just the last week. This is said to be an unusually high number, likely because it’s nesting season.

“They kind of got tunnel vision when they hunt, and all they do is zero in on that prey and then forget about everything that’s around them,” said Callie Stahl. The executive director of the wildlife center.

Many of the delicate birds have head, bone or wing injuries because they were likely hit by fast moving cars in the Charlotte County area. It’s hard to avoid them. But, if you hit one, you can save them by taking them to the center for treatment.

“If they sit on the side of the road, their chances declined rapidly because of predation and further injuries from cars,” Stahl said.

Screech owls are nocturnal and tend to fly low across the road. Some locals say they’ve found them inside their cars after leaving their windows open overnight.

“It’s a treasure that we have that needs to be protected,” Heard said.

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