Rescuers return barn owl to the wild

| 03/06/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman science news(CNS): Volunteers from Cayman Wildlife Rescue recently released a barn owl which they had been nursing back to health since he was found in a dumpster suffering from what appeared to be spinal injuries. “Barney”, who was found and taken to Cayman Animal Hospital by a caring member of the public, had probably been hit by a car or had flown into a building window. Under the care of Dr. Lisa Hunter and the staff at the animal hospital, Barney built back his strength and regained his mobility before Cayman Wildlife took Barney and began his flight training and helped him on his long road to eventual release. (Photo by John Ferguson)

Speaking about his arrival at the hospital after he was discovered in the dumpster, Dr. Hunter said Barney was in a bad way. “He had little mobility in his lower limbs, which suggested a spinal injury.”
With staff volunteering their time and facilities for the preliminary care of the owl, he spent over two months at the hospital, where the vets monitored his weight, general health and also conducted physical therapy to build back his strength in his legs and feet.
Cayman Wildlife Rescue resumed care of the owl in March, and by May Barney was ready to begin his flight training to prepare him for release back into the wild. Under the guidance of Avian Specialist, Dr. Heather Barron of St. Matthews Veterinary University, the wildlife rescue team began to creance fly the owl. Barney was secured to a long line and flown at intervals, gradually increasing the frequency and length of training to every day.
CWR volunteers Mikaella Lacerda and Rogerio Pitta conducted the majority of the owl’s flight training, feeding and weight checks. Alison Corbett, CWR Program Manager, thanked all the volunteers for their help in what was a long road for Barney.
“It was a long path to recovery for this owl, but thanks to the hard work of many dedicated volunteers and with support of local vets we had great success.” 
While the vets didn’t charge for their work or resources, frozen mice needed to be shippedin via air cargo to feed Barney’s growing appetite. CWR estimates that the cost of rehabilitating the owl was close to $500. If members of the public would like to contribute to the program, donations can be made to Cayman Wildlife Rescue and mailed to PO Box 31116 KY1-1205 or dropped of at the National Trust.
Symbolic wildlife adoption kits are also available at the National Trust for $30, including an adoption certificate, information on the animal, backpack and choice of a plush parrot or bat toy, all proceeds benefit the program.
Cayman Wildlife Rescue is a program of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands tasked with the rescue of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife for release back into the wild. It is financed by donations from the public and staffed entirely by volunteers.
If you are interested in volunteering please contact Alison Corbett at For more information you can also visit
What to do if you find injured wildlife – Call the LIME Sponsored Wildlife Emergency Hotline at 917-BIRD(2473). Cayman Wildlife Rescue has a team of experienced and trained volunteers ready to assist in wildlife emergencies. The public are reminded to NEVER attempt to care for a wildlife animal themselves as they required special diets and veterinary care.
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  1. peter milburn says:

    Another reason to have a Conservation Law in place NOW!!!!!!!What a wonderful sight to watch Barney fly off into the wild again.My hat is off to the many volunteers who spent so much of their free time to take care of him.I myself had the pleasure of "helping"and it makes one feel so good that you have made even the tiniest bit of difference in the life of a wild animal.I encourage as many folks as possible to call the numbers above or go online.Every little bit helps whether its by a cash donation or just giving of some of your time.Trust me its a VERY rewarding experience.Keep up the Great work Alison and all you other volunteers.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I extend a heart-felt "Well done" to all those involved. You should all be very pleased with yourselves. It is so pleasing to read about a happy ending.

    Is it possible for this organisation to set up a PayPal or similar account which would make supporting your excellent work easier for those who would like to help?

    • Cayman Wildlife Rescue says:

      We are in the process of re-doing our website and hope to have a Paypal feature up shortly.

      Until then you can always call and email us – we are happy to come to you to receive a donation.