Campground operator saves tiny owlet

An owlet rescued behind the Chief Will-Yum Campround awaits transportation to the 2nd Chance Wildlife Shelter in Quesnel. - Monica Lamb-Yorski photo
An owlet rescued behind the Chief Will-Yum Campround awaits transportation to the 2nd Chance Wildlife Shelter in Quesnel.
— image credit: Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

A tiny but mighty owlet named Dale is recuperating after an exciting rescue Saturday night near Williams Lake.

Steve Simms who runs the Chief Will-Yum Campground at Sugar Cane Reserve came to Dale’s aid.

Simms said he was four-wheeling behind the campground on a trail when he startled two ravens who were in the air fighting over the owlet about 35 feet away.

“Suddenly I saw this owl drop 30 to 35 feet from their clutches and land on the side of the road,” Simms said.

Simms grabbed a towel, gently picked up the owl, brought it home and put it in a box.

The owlet, which biologists believe is a Northern Saw-whet, couldn’t fly likely due to its young age, but seemed to be able to move its wings.

Simms said that’s the first time he has ever seen that type of owl in the region. He suspects the ravens took the owl from a nest.

When he contacted the BCSPCA Williams Lake Branch, staff referred him to 2nd Chance Wildlife Rescue in Quesnel and on Sunday Sue Burton, a volunteer from Williams Lake, came and picked up the owl and arranged to take it to the shelter.

By Tuesday morning Burton said Dale had eaten four frozen mice from the pet store and was looking good.

“Dale’s not injured so he’ll just need to go to the wildlife shelter in Quesnel,” Burton said.

Dale’s the first baby owl the shelter has received this year, shelter manager Tammy Zacharias said.

“We’ll feed him and raise him and he’ll be good to go. Thank goodness we’ve been stockpiling mice.”

Simms said the name Dale came from his 21-year-old daughter Rachel who thought the owl looked like a Dale.

While he has seen owls in the Cariboo, this was  his first rescue operation, he chuckled.

Zacharias said all of the animals brought to the shelter last year have been released and the shelter is ready to start over with new arrivals.

“The kids have their own brains right now and don’t want to listen to their parents anymore,” she chuckled.

Five baby Canada geese flew out on Central Mountain Air Wednesday and a bald eagle went out on Tuesday, she added.

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