Injured owl found along state Highway 14

By Andy Matarrese, Columbian Breaking News Reporter

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Washougal police officers found an injured great horned owl Monday on the side of state Highway 14, and although it’s recovering at the Portland Audubon Society’s Wildlife Care Center, its prognosis is uncertain.

On Monday, Washougal police officer Jon Cotton responded to a report of an injured owl seen on Highway 14, east of Washougal around Milepost 19.

Camas-Washougal Animal Control Officer Rick Foster went out to help.

They found a great horned owl, between 1 and 1 1/2 feet tall, sitting by the road, he said.

It was clear it was hurt, he said, because they were able to scoop it up with relative ease with leather gloves.

Great horned owls are common around most of North America and much of South America, but Foster said he hasn’t dealt with one professionally in more than 15 years.

“I had to get directions back to the Audubon Society, it had been so long,” he said.

The great horned owl has a bad fracture near an elbow and some damage to a retina, said Lacey Campbell, the manager at the care center.

Foster said it might have been hit by a car.

“It’s alive, and it’s alert, but it’s not eating well,” Campbell said. “It’s a pretty poor prognosis, but we’re going to see what we can do.”

If a callus forms in the fracture, it could render the owl flightless, she said.

Campbell said the owl is likely around 6 months old. They grow to full size quickly, she said.

“Most birds don’t live through their first year of life. That’s pretty typical,” she said. “There’s a couple of factors here, but we’re going to continue to treat it as well as we can.”