Georgina wildlife rescue caring for 3 snowy owls struck by vehicles
'There’s been more snowies down south this year than normal': Cathy Stockman of Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge
April 3, 2018
A snowy owl is in critical condition after it was struck by a vehicle April 1.
Nearby citizens stopped to help the owl, which was hit by a car on Hwy. 404, near Boag Road in East Gwillimbury. Workers from Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge, which is based in Pefferlaw, arrived on scene and took the owl into their care.
Shades of Hope operations manager Cathy Stockman says the snowy owl is an “emaciated state”. The owl is one of three snowy owls in the refuge's care that have been struck by vehicles in the last three to four weeks.
“Usually what happens when they’re hit, they’re not having much luck hunting,” Stockman said. “They go to the side of the road for roadkill.”
Snowy owls are present in northern York Region during the winter, but as spring arrives, they move back north. Stockman believes younger owls are coming south because they're forced to venture out to find more food.
“They don’t spend time teaching babies to hunt,” Stockman said.
The result is owls find themselves seeking roadkill.
The latest snowy owl to arrive at the refuge is worse off than the other two, which came in with broken wings.
“There’s been more snowies down south this year than normal,” Stockman said.
A possible scenario of exactly how the owls are struck by vehicles is due to their take off time. It takes the snowy owl some time to take off into flight from the side of the road, putting them at risk of colliding with vehicles.
Once the snowy owls are rehabilitated, they will be released further north in Ontario.