Spotted owl hit by car |

Spotted owl hit by car

Susan Wood

A California spotted owl struck by a vehicle at Camp Richardson Saturday awaits a physical examination at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care from a veterinarian.

The endangered bird was picked up by an El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputy, who called the wildlife care center late that night to notify Director Cheryl Millham of the find.

Millham said the owl, which was bleeding from its ears and mouth, suffered severe eye trauma. The director gave it fluids and has tried to stabilize the male bird as best she can. He’s weak, but he’s standing up.

“We need to give him every chance (of living) with the support he needs,” Millham said.

California Department of Fish and Game Capt. Mark Lucero said motorists hitting birds are common at this time of year, as birds are out more in the spring.

Owls are nocturnal, thus their chance encounters with humans are at night.

Unlike their cousin the California spotted owl injured Saturday, the northern spotted owl is rare in the Lake Tahoe Basin, Fish and Game Associate Wildlife Biologist Terri Weist indicated.

Weist, who started with the Rancho Cordova office two weeks ago, should know. She hails from Humboldt County, a hot spot for environmentalists trying to protect the bird from logging.

Spotted owls are distinguished by their large dark eyes and signature high-pitched hoots that sound like the barking of a small dog.

Bird watchers tend to identify the birds by sound.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.