After rescuing two Snowy Owls in recent weeks, the BC SPCA Kelowna Branch is warning the public to keep a look out for the bright-eyed birds.
Motorists, in particular, are asked to avoid running into them on these shorter days. In some instances the owls may be on the ground in a weakened state, after flying miles to find food.
"It is wildlife so it is best to use caution when you see them and contact the SPCA or the South Okanagan Rehabilitation Centre for Owls, SORCO," said Kelowna branch manager Suzanne Pugh.
It is rare to see the owls in the Okanagan, but the SPCA is seeing them in greater numbers this winter due to a shortage of food supplies in the north, said Pugh.
The first owl rescue was two to three weeks ago, when the SPCA was contacted after one was spotted on the ground in the Gordon Drive, Richter Street area. After a staff member assessed the situation, the bird was taken south to the rehabilitation center.
A Great Horned Owl was then brought in around the same time by a resident, but unfortunately the owl was already deceased, said Pugh.
SPCA staff was again dispatched Sunday, after another Snowy Owl was found, unable to fly, by a member of the public in the Casorso Road area.
The bird was secured in a dog crate and taken to the emergency clinic at Fairfield Animal Hospital. The bird was deemed to be too alert for them to handle and was taken by a volunteer to SORCO for rehabilitation.
As of Monday morning, the owl had eaten and does not appear to be injured. Depending on now much it eats, it could be released this week, said Pugh. The owl found earlier was also still undergoing rehab to the best of her knowledge.
The owls have also recently been spotted in Delta and Naramata.
Those who have seen the large Arctic owls describe them as beautiful to behold. Like Pugh, others involved in wildlife rehabilitation ask the public to keep their distance from the birds.
The SPCA can be contacted at (250) 861-7722. For SORCO, call (250) 498-4251.