Raptor & Owl Rehabilitation

Our carnivore facilities have grown substantially over the last few years; we now have a dedicated raptor flight aviary, two raptor barns and two dark rooms for raising babies and convalescing. We are still in need of another connecting flight aviary to create an L-shape for banking and turning practice.

Barn owl rehab enclosure
young barn owls at Belize Bird Rescue

Courtesy  Trish Lyons

Barn owls nest in roof-spaces and attics in urban environments. They and their offspring make extremely loud and eerie hissing noises, thump on ceilings as they move around, and generate a strong ammonia-like smell.

 

Understandably, Forest Department receive many calls from homeowners requesting their removal. As a result, the many of barn owls we receive are healthy juveniles, a few weeks - or even days - from fledging, who require little more than a delivery of rats up to, and a few months beyond, soft-release.
 

young barn owls at Belize Bird Rescue
Injured mottled owl in rehab enclosure

The estimated survival rate of many juvenile owls is less than 20%.

 

We are often brought owls that people have 'found' on the forest floor. These bird have left the nest a little too early but chances are that the parents are close by attending to their young. Unfortunately for the owl the chances are equal that a predator is also nearby.

 

It is a dilemma: leave nature to take its course, or assist the helpless baby. Fortunately for us by the time the baby gets to Bird Rescue that difficult decision has already been made.

Juvenile screech owl
Rare solitary eagle shot by farmer

The majority of other raptors brought are injured birds, hit by car or a projectile of some sort: sling-shots are very prevalent in Belize. Many farmers target day-flying raptors as they believe they are hunting their domestic fowl.

 

The rare (juvenile) solitary eagle (left) was brought down by a farmer's shotgun. Sadly, he did not survive.

 

Education programmes throughout the country focus on the beneficial pest-control raptors perform, as well as their role as a top predator in the natural ecosystem.

White hawk recovering from broken wing

Courtesy Trish Lyons