Gizmo the pygmy owl is given fluids to rehydrate the rescued raptor.

Little owl gets big hand from volunteers

A pint-sized raptor was successfully released last weekend in Port Hardy after being rescued from the attentions of crows.

PORT HARDY—A pint-sized raptor was successfully released last weekend in Port Hardy after being rescued from the attentions of crows.

Vet Valerie Drolet of the North Island Veterinary Hospital returned the pygmy owl — named Gizmo after the Gremlins character — to his natural habitat after the bird was inspected by staff at the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society.

Gizmo had been found the week previous by residents of Tsulquate Reserve.

“He was being picked on by some crows,” said Drolet. “That happens sometimes because they’re so small.”

The family rescued the owl and called the veterinary office to enquire what they should feed him. Technicians advised the callers to bring the bird in for professional attention.

Drolet said that when Gizmo came in he seemed in relatively good health, and staff rehydrated the raptor.

She then got in touch with the experts at MARS, who requested that the owl be brought down for inspection.

Late last week Gizmo got the all-clear and was returned to Port Hardy with instructions that the bird be released as close to where he was found as possible.

Saturday morning, Drolet brought the bird to the woods behind the Gwa’sala-’Nakwaxda’xw School for release.

She explained that, as the species was diurnal — active both day and night — she wanted to release him in the early morning to give the bird the maximum amount of daylight to find its bearings.

Once the carrying container was opened, Gizmo had the best possible reaction: flying straight up into the branches. The pygmy owl then took a few moments to orient itself to the new surroundings before taking wing again.

As the name suggests, pygmy owl are small, with a length around 7 inches and weighing in around 2 oz.