Sick or injured raptors are in safe hands at the OWL (Orphaned Wildlife) Rehabilitation Society in Delta.
Each year, OWL sees over 700 raptors, which include eagles, falcons, hawks, ospreys, owls and vultures. These birds come in from all over the province, as well as neighbouring provinces and the US, but the majority of the patients seen at OWL come from the Lower Mainland. The society has a strong network of volunteers who make sure these birds in need get help. OWL also receives help from conservation officers, vet clinics, police officers, highway maintenance workers and community groups.
OWL is dedicated to rehabilitating raptors, with eventual release being the goal they strive for. Staff at the society also work hard to educate the public, with both offsite and onsite education programs. OWL In The Classroom is an example of offsite education, where staff bring two raptors who have a permanent home in the facility into the classroom to help educate today’s students. Students and the general public can also come out to OWL and meet some of the raptors, those who weren’t able to be released. OWL currently has 46 non-releasable raptors onsite.
Founded in 1985, OWL continues to be outspoken regarding environmental issues that are detrimental to the birds they care for, including lead poisoning and rodenticide poisoning. About 90% of the birds the come to OWL are sick or injured due to us humans – from vehicle strikes, smashing into windows, poisonings and contact with power lines.
The society relies on the public for support, both financially and through volunteer hours. Volunteers must be at least 15 years old and be up-to-date with their tetanus shot. Volunteer positions include day-to-day bird care, facility maintenance and care, rescues and releases of injured/orphaned raptors, guiding the public through the facility, going into classrooms and working at fundraisers. Volunteers don’t need to be experiences, just passionate, caring and willing to learn.
OWL is located at 3800 72 St., Delta. They are available 24/7 for raptor emergencies by calling 604-946-3171, and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. through July and August. From September to June, the facility is only open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.