Florence was a Long-eared Owl who was hatched in 2012, just north of Cadillac, Michigan. She was a Wings of Wonder ambassador raptors and delighted visitors with her beautiful lemon-yellow irises and her curious facial expressions. In 2018, our minds became open to the idea she might be releasable.  Past research suggested raptors with amputated toes were not releasable candidates but new research and field study suggested otherwise.  Florence’s personality was also indicating she was not going to tolerate becoming an education ambassador.  Florence excelled at aerobic conditioning and hunt training and so earned her freedom.  Support for Florence helps all Long-eared Owls that might find their way to WOW.

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More about Florence

Florence was found by a logger after her nest tree had been cut down. This little owl was only about a week away from being old enough to fly and the logger felt awful about causing the nest disruption. He immediately delivered the young chick to Wings of Wonder. After a quick exam, Rebecca was able to assure the logger that he had actually saved this owl’s life. It turned out that Florence had an old injury to her left foot which had caused severe damage to her back toe. She must have gotten her foot snagged inside the nest when she was quite young. In her attempts to free her foot, her back toe was severley mangled.

If the logger had not interfered with the nest cycle and this little owl had gotten old enough to fly, she most likely would have starved to death. The dead toe was her hallux, or back toe. This is an extremely important toe for a raptor, helping with successful hunting and perching.

Once Florence was strong enough she was scheduled for surgery to remove the dead toe. Her foot healed quickly and she has adapted quite nicely. Long-eared Owls enjoy a diet of mice and large insects.