Date: 12/22/17 11:26 am
From: M Campbell (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Re: No sightings – comments in recognition of the Avian Conservation Center - The Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw, SC
Dear Carolinabird List Serve,

I would like to speak to the professionalism and caring services provided
by the Avian Medical Clinic at the Avian Conservation Center - The Center
for Birds of Prey in Awendaw, SC.

I have been in contact with the Avian Medical Clinic, Debbie Mauney, and
Emily Davis about the recent Snowy Owl. Staff with the Avian Conservation
Center - The Center for Birds of Prey observed the Snowy Owl in Myrtle
Beach and determined that the bird was in need of medical assistance. If a
professional rehabber can walk up and pick up a snowy owl with the bird
making no attempt to move, that is more evidence about the health condition
of the bird. If you are interested, please see below for the update on the
Snowy owl that had been in Myrtle Beach.

Please visit the Avian Conservation Center - The Center for Birds of Prey
or contact them if you have questions.

Matthew Campbell

Charleston, SC

From the Avian Medical Clinic…

As most of you know, we recently admitted an unusual patient, a snowy owl,
into our Avian Medical Clinic. The bird was spotted in Myrtle Beach by a
local birder, and we received a call of concern about the bird’s safety as
he was so far out of their normal range. We captured the bird and admitted
him to the clinic for a full evaluation.

Following our physical examination, it was determined that the bird was
mildly emaciated, and had internal parasites (trichomoniasis and
capillaria), both of which can become debilitating in a compromised bird. The
bird also presented with a very heavy external parasite load. We stabilized
the bird by providing subcutaneous fluid therapy, along with vitamin
supplements. Once stable, we treated for both the internal and external
parasites. The bird has now been moved to an outdoor enclosure, is eating
well, and is being kept on a strict “Do Not Disturb” status.

We have been coordinating with experts in the field to assist us in
determining the best course of action for this bird. We have decided to
transport the bird to another facility further North in Delaware (Tri-State
Bird Rescue), where the bird will receive diagnostics following Project
SNOWstorm guidelines. Project SNOWstorm ( )
is a non-profit scientific research group studying snowy owl movements and
migration patterns, using banding for individual identification along with
backpack transmitters to track birds and their movements.

Specifically, the snowy owl blood sample processing protocols set forth by
Project SNOWstorm include testing for DNA, contaminants, toxicology, and
West Nile Virus, as well as documenting general health parameters for each
bird. Based on their findings, they will either band the bird or fit him
with a radio transmitter for tracking as part of their larger research
project, and will likely transport the bird even further North for release.

Snowy owl migration is complex; some birds migrate south predictably and
regularly, while others remain on the breeding grounds (arctic tundra) or
actually move north. But every once in a while, for reasons that are not
fully understood, snowy owls come flooding down from the north in a
phenomenon known as an “irruption”. It appears it’s not hunger or lack of
prey that produces these mega-flights, but an absurd abundance of food
during the summer breeding season. High populations of lemmings, voles,
ptarmigan and other prey lead to large clutches of owl eggs. During an
irruption year, these birds often find themselves in areas that do not
supply the proper environment for their health. Such as Myrtle Beach. The
largest Snowy Owl eruption was in 2013-2014. These owls were being reported
and confirmed as south as Florida and Bermuda.

There are a lot of challenges for these birds when they migrate to new
territories, especially places like Myrtle Beach. It is our hope that this
bird is one of the lucky ones that will make his way back where he belongs.

Join us on Facebook!