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Big hoot for owl centre

Injured and ill birds of prey will now receive treatment in a state-of-the-art clinic in the South Okanagan.

On Sunday, the South Okanagan Rehabilitation Centre for Owls in Oliver  will celebrate the grand opening of the new facility at its open house.

"We are very excited," said executive manager Lauren Meads. "Past directors always dreamed of a better facility and we spent the last year and a half building it."

A bigger facility with more equipment was much needed. SORCO now serves a growing number of birds, and the former clinic, built in 1987, was small and outdated.

According to Meads, the centre aided 121 birds in 2013, compared to 94 in 2012. Prior to that they had 50 or 60 a year.

So far in 2014, over 25 birds have been treated.

Meads believes the increase is due to more people living in the area, resulting in more interaction with wildlife and the fact that more residents are learning about SORCO and the services it provides.

Amenities at the new clinic range from an examination room, where the birds are initially assessed, to a recovery room with cages and four flight pens, which can be tailored to specific species.

The birds are then moved from the smaller pens to large flight pens.

Sunday's open house, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., will include a grand opening ceremony and ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. in the presence of Lt. Gov. Judith Guichon and other dignitaries.

Visitors will be invited to tour the new clinic and facilities. Houdini, a great horned owl, will be on hand celebrating his 15th birthday, as well as Pilot, a burrowing owl.

The centre is located at 8965 Highway 97 in Oliver. 



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