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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Animal Rescue VIII: Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl





Wildlife faces so many threats in Nicaragua. Habitats for wild animals are disappearing from the clearing of forests. Animals are being caught and trafficked as pets or meat. But among the greatest pressures on wildlife is caused by pets, especially by cats. Many animals fall victim to the hunting instinct of this domesticated animal. A cat can kill almost any animal smaller than it, and may kill as many as one per day, regardless of how much it is fed by its owners. For this reason, cats are incompatible with natural areas. They eliminate susceptible species from the vicinity, efficiently, usually without anyone even noticing. 
We were recently brought a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium brasilanum) that had fallen victim to a local cat in the Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. The owl was not bleeding, but had obviously suffered a serious internal injury. The bird never was able to stand on his own feet, although he was conscious and fierce. He could still bite with force. We gave him a brief inspection, then placed him in warm wrappings and tried to give him a peaceful, warm, quiet setting to recover. Nonetheless, he died within a couple of hours. 
Glaucidium brasilanum
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, Nicaragua. Photo by Trolls Hollengren..
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Nicaragua
When this owl came to us, he was fully conscious, but incapable of  standing on his own feet. Photo by Trolls Hollengren.
wildlife Nicaragua
The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl is tiny, but ferocious. Photo by Trolls Hollengren. 

injured owl Nicaragua
The injured Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl never recovered from the shock and internal injuries from an attack by a cat. Photo by Trolls Hollengren. 
Not all our attempts at animal rescue end in success, but we gave the bird all the opportunity we could so it would live to be free another day. This species is uncommon in our location, but we have recently heard the characteristic morning song at dawn near Estacion Biologica. Although this one died, we know others are nearby! The Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls can be found rather easily when present, particularly because they are often active during the day. The skin of this one will be used for scientific study at some point in the future. 

bird Nicaragua
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