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More than a dozen injured owls admitted to Alberta wildlife rehab facility in the last month

More hours of darkness during winter means more time that owls are out hunting, and as a result, more of the nocturnal predators are being injured in encounters with humans.

Owls are being admitted to the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation (AIWC) with head trauma or broken wings caused by window strikes and vehicle collisions.

"What they'll do is they'll actually use the headlights from vehicles and they'll swoop down in front of the vehicles because we're scaring mice in the ditches," said Katrina Terrill, the community engagement manager at AIWC.

"Then we're also throwing away garbage out of our windows and mice are having a harder time finding food too, so they're actually being attracted to that litter in the ditches, so there's more of them, just a lot of cascading effects happening here."

Winter months are typically quieter at AIWC because there are fewer young animals staff have to deal with. But they're seeing an abundance of injured owls. More than a dozen have been admitted to the wildlife hospital northwest of Calgary according to rehab manager Jenna Anthony.

She says each one has to be assessed and treated and then cared for.

"A lot of it is just cage rest and medications to make them comfortable until their trauma heals," said Anthony. "Then for wing fractures, they can be in care for up to four weeks, just allowing their bones to heal."

Most owl species do not migrate in the winter, instead they choose to stay in Alberta year-round and if they get hurt it can cost well over $1,000 to care for an individual animal in need.

This holiday season AIWC is asking Albertans for support through its Christmas campaign titled Give the Gift of Saving Wildlife'.

"We do rely on donations," said Terrill. "We are 100 per cent donation funded for the most part so any small amount helps, no matter if it's $5 or $10 or if you're able to be more generous. Every little amount is going to help make sure that we're able to help these animals."

AIWC has an active campaign to raise $85,000 by Dec. 31, which will go to supporting the organization’s mission because, staff say, "Wildlife need us, and we need them."

Learn more about AIWC and how to help online. Top Stories

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