A Western Screech Owl in Desperate Need


A Western Screech Owl with Hardened Foam on its Face and Body

On January 5, Santa Clara County’s Injured and Orphaned Wildlife Inc. came to International Bird Rescue with a Western Screech Owl that had flown into insulation foam as workers were insulating an attic. With its face coated in hardened foam, its life was in danger.

As soon as the patient arrived at our San Francisco Bay Wildlife Rescue Center he was examined and stabilized. We administered anesthesia and started to carefully remove some of the foam that was smothering large portions of his face and body.

The Owl Under Anesthesia

The bird had been attempting to preen off this toxic material, and had ripped a big patch from his chest before he arrived at the Center. Clinic staff removed several chunks of foam from his mouth and we are hopeful that the rest will be cast in a pellet.

The Owl's Eyes Were of Primary Concern

The Owl’s nares were very irritated, but his eyes were of primary concern. Both of his corneas had large ulcers, and he had hard foam both inside and outside his left eyelid – imagine a contact lens made of insulation foam!

While the Owl still has bits of foam all over his feathers, the larger, immediately life-threatening ones are gone. Much as with an oiled bird, stress is a serious consideration for survival, and cleaning can only be done safely after the bird has been stabilized.

Injured and Orphaned Wildlife is consulting a vet ophthalmologist with wild bird experience to follow up with the Western Screech Owl’s numerous eye injuries, but we have high hopes for this bird’s survival and were glad to provide him with the specialized care each of our patients deserves.

The Owl Rests After Treatment
The Owl After Emergency Care


17 thoughts on “A Western Screech Owl in Desperate Need”

  1. Thank you for sharing this story. It’s something one never imagines can happen. But there you go.

    Poor little sweetie! I hope he gets fed well and recuperates 100%! Thank you for your work!

  2. You folks did an amazing job cleaning this little owl up! Hope he survives the stress of it all. Congrats on a job well done. Keep us posted on his progress!

  3. I have always admired the wonderful, important work you do rehabbing birds. Todays screech owl was a very particular challenge. Bravo for your fantastic results !!! I am thankful for your work and i appreciate the people who saw the bird in distress and brought him in. thank you , all of you !!!

  4. Aww! Poor little owl! What a terrible thing to have happen to him/her. So glad you were here to help get rid of the hardened foam. He certainly would have died without caring and experienced people. Please keep us updated on his condition. He is beautiful! I love owls and every one of them is precious.

  5. I am so grateful that there are people like you out there with the knowledge to care for this kind of injury. This broke my heart, and am myself rescued with seeing the photos of the little owl after treatment. I send my love and wishes for a total recovery for the little guy.

  6. I work at Volunteers for Wildlife on Long Island, NY….unbelievable story….would like to follow the progress of the WESO. Thank you.

  7. Hello,
    I am Chelsea Matheson the wife of the gentlemen who called the bird in. He is the project manager on the project on the house project where they were foam insulating. He called me and sent me images the day of the happenings. I was in tears and really hoping the little “hoot” we are calling him would make it. Our daughter loves loves Owls and I just showed her how her daddy helped save him. Thank you so much for caring for him and we are so happy people like you dedicate your lives to saving those of others.

    Chelsea, Stuart and Eleanor

  8. I certainly commend all of your efforts for this little creature. I wish you all a happy New Year. I hope and pray that the little fella makes it, and is healthy. Thanks to all of the people involved. Maybe, we can save the world, one animal at a time.

  9. I just want to say that I am truly grateful for the amazing work you do to save the wildlife. This story is truly amazing and I will be praying for the owl’s eyes are undamaged by the whole traumatic experience. Please keep up the wonderful work and thank you for all you do!


  10. I just want to say that I am truly grateful for the amazing work you do to save the wildlife. This story is truly amazing and I will be praying that the owl’s eyes are not damaged by this traumatic experience. Please keep up the wonderful work and thank you for all you do!


  11. Thanks to all of you who helped this adorable little owl. I rehab bats and if it weren’t for the caring people out there that find them and bring them to us we couldn’t save them. So a special thanks to the people who got this owl to the wonderful people at bird rescue so they could have the chance to help him. He looks like a little scrapper and I hope he continues to get better and better so he can be released.

  12. Thank you for fighting the good fight. Keeping our wild life safe and healthy. We need more dedicated people like you. Blessings
    Frank D.

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