WES: western screech owl
Wes was brought to the California Raptor Center in November 2014 after being hit by a car in Woodland, CA. Examination at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital revealed trauma to his left eye, old lesions in his right eye, and a luxated (dislocated) left alula, which is the avian "thumb". Veterinary ophthalmologists concluded that this combination of pre-existing right eye problems and new left eye damage compromised the owl's vision, and his care team deemed him non-releasable.*
Unnamed at the time, the non-releasable western screech owl joined several other small owls in the CRC's owl display aviary. He quickly proved adept at moving around the enclosure, and nowadays he can often be seen perching in the exhibit's live tree. Wes began his training as an educational ambassador bird in the spring of 2017, and he received his name--a bit of a play on words--shortly thereafter.
Though we refer to Wes as a "he", we are not entirely sure of Wes's sex. We believe this owl is male, but both male and female western screech owls share the same camouflauging, gray plumage, and the two sexes can overlap in weight...and Wes tips the scales right in the middle of the range!
*One-eyed owls can sometimes be released into the wild because they are able to compensate for their decreased vision by using their excellent sense of hearing. However, an owl with vision problems in both eyes would stand a low chance of survival and is therefore unsuitable for release.