By Jennifer Grimes
Triplicate staff writer
With giant, slowly blinking eyes, a soft feathered barred owl makes distinct clicking noises as vet assistants peer into his cage.
He looks and sounds like a cuddly pet, but Veterinarian Dennis Wood said the owl is a wild animal who will grab onto you with sharp talons and peck you with his stunning beak.
Hell grab on and wont let go, Wood said.
The bird was brought to Woods clinic with an injured wing. An x-ray of the wing shows the bird was shot with a pellet gun, rendering it unable to fly.
After cleaning the wound and stabilizing it with a bandage, Wood said the owl will be sent for long term recovery at Wild Life Images in Grants Pass. There he will be provided with a large cage to learn how to fly and hunt again on his own.
In the meantime, vets assistant Misty Leavitt said its her responsibility to put live mice and rats into the owls cage.
Hes pretty fun to look at until you get a half-eaten rat in there with him, Leavitt said.
Two cages down, Wood is housing a screech owl, much smaller than the 14-inch tall barred owl. Wood said the screech owl was likely hit by a car and is suffering from a concussion.
With any luck, both owls should recover at the professional wild bird sanctuary in Grants Pass or at the Humboldt Wildlife Care center near Eureka.