Barred owls hit by cars, admitted to von Arx Wildlife Hospital

By Joanna Fitzgerald | Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital

Two barred owls were among the 67 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week.

The two owls were admitted on the same day after being found injured in different locations in Collier County. Both suffered similar injuries due to being struck by vehicles.

The owls showed neurological deficits and had eye injuries. Pain medications and electrolytes were administered and each owl spent several days on oxygen in an animal intensive care unit. Once their mentation improved, the owls were moved to recovery enclosures in the bird room. Oral electrolytes, Chinese herbs, eye medications and nutritional support were provided multiple times throughout the day. One owl was slightly stronger and more amenable to being hand-fed. Possibly because it is a young owl. The adult owl was less tolerant of handling so staff was encouraged when the adult finally began to eat on its owl. Once an animal is eating on its own, handling is reduced which minimizes stress.

Vehicle strikes are a common cause of injury for birds, mammals and reptiles. Please, if you hit an animal, safely pull over, assess the situation, offer assistance or call the von Arx Wildlife Hospital for advice. Never leave an injured animal suffering on the side of the road.

Keep in mind that many animals (owls, opossums, raccoons) are nocturnal (active at night). Reducing your speed and increasing awareness of your surroundings, especially when traveling through areas that provide good habitat for wildlife, may improve your reaction time and allow you to avoid hitting an animal. Other species such as foxes, deer and rabbits tend to be more active at dawn and dusk. Stay focused and be aware when driving — it may save the life of an unsuspecting animal.

Recent Releases

Five Florida softshell turtles, two gopher tortoises, a red-shouldered hawk, three northern mockingbirds, a red-bellied woodpecker, a blue jay, two mourning doves, two eastern cottontails, a peninsula cooter, a cooper’s hawk, a loggerhead shrike, an anhinga and three mottled ducks were released this past week.

Special Thanks

Staff at the hospital wanted to recognize all our volunteers for everything they do to help us care for wildlife in need. COVID-19 safety concerns have changed how we are currently utilizing volunteers. We know you are eager to get back to work and we will be thrilled when you can finally return. To the volunteers who continue to help us in the hospital, thank you. This time of year is busy, hot and the work is tiring yet you continue to show up, work hard and never complain. Your dedication and passion inspire us.

Opportunities to Help

There are many ways to remain engaged and support the Conservancy. Become a member, donate and visit our website at Learn about the Conservancy’s work to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.




Weekly blog from Joanna Fitzgerald, director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital.

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Conservancy of SWFL

Conservancy of SWFL

Protecting Southwest Florida's unique natural environment and quality of and forever.

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