Feather transplant helps owl regain its wings

Lort Smith vets have released a Southern Boobook after a successful feather transplant, allowing the injured owl a speedy recovery.

The owl was brought to Lort Smith Animal Hospital by a Wildlife Victoria volunteer after it was found by a member of the public on the ground unable to fly.

Parkville resident, Carla, heard a thud from outside her apartment and found the owl in a bush, unable to move.

“I heard a commotion from the balcony, and then saw an owl topple out of a tree,” said Carla,

“It couldn’t fly away, and it ran into a bush.”

Knowing that owls are not usually active during the day, Carla called Wildlife Victoria who brought the owl to Lort Smith for treatment.

The owl, estimated to be around 13 months old had a large amount of sticky substance attached to its feathers including its primary flight feathers, which had to be removed. Dr Tristan Rich, Lort Smith Unusual Pets and Wildlife Veterinarian performed a feather transplant to help the owl regain its wings as soon as possible.

Lort Smith was able to perform the procedure with onsite donor feathers from another Boobook who had passed away after an irreparable injury.

“The successful imping procedure allowed the owl to get back home within a couple of days,” said Dr Rich.

The Southern Boobook is one of many unusual patients that vets at Lort Smith treat every year.

“Lort Smith has a dedicated team of exotic vets that treat all types of animals from injured wildlife to pet rabbits, ferrets, snakes and bearded dragons,” said Dr Rich.

The owl remained at Lort Smith for two days, and has now been returned to the area where it was found.

If you have discovered injured wildlife please call
Wildlife Victoria on 03 8400 7300.