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Shorty, the Short-eared Owl, was brought into the Wisconsin Humane Society Wildlife Rehabilitation Center after being found battered and bruised on the ground.

When Shorty first arrived, he was so weak and dehydrated that we were worried about his prognosis: he could barely hold up his head or even keep his eyes open when we examined him.

Diagnosing Shorty

After a thorough examination, we found massive bruising all along his back as well as two messy lacerations and several abrasions.

We gave him a quick dose of oral fluids to help rehydrate him and medicine to reduce his pain. We placed poor Shorty in a warm incubator and developed a treatment plan to deal with his wounds, moderate his pain, minimize stress and rehydrate him.

Rehabilitating Shorty

We were amazed and delighted to see that Shorty had already started to show signs of improvement by the time we administered his second dose of fluids and electrolytes!

He even snapped at us with his beak as a warning for us to stay away as we approached him, which was a good sign! Over the next week, Shorty’s treatments continued and he began to feel well enough to begin eating on his own. As he continued to heal and regain his strength, we first moved him to a larger hospital cage and finally to an outdoor habitat where he could make short flights to flex and exercise his muscles and joints.

Shorty Gets Released

After a few weeks, Shorty’s wounds were fully healed.

We happily transported him to an open meadow -- good Short-eared Owl habitat -- northwest of Milwaukee and released him back to the wild at dusk.