Publisher: Schlütersche Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG
The rehabilitation and release of injured or ill raptors and owls is widespread. The overall aim of this intervention is the successful reintroduction of the bird into the wild population. Though many injuries are treatable, it is thought that vision-impaired birds have no change of survival and their release is refused. Here we report a case study and give a description of the rehabilitation and subsequent release of an injured Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo). The bird was found with an injured eye and a paralysed wing in the district of Soest, North Rhine - Westphalia, Germany. While the paralysis healed, the bird stayed blind in one eye. Nevertheless it was released with a radio-transmitter. The female Eagle Owl could be followed by radio-telemetry for more than half a year after release, by visual and acoustic skills for a full year after release. Although the female was only two years old, it paired successful with a partner, and raised a brood with three offspring. No differences in the behaviour compared to non-handicapped birds could be detected. This one-eyed Eagle Owl demonstrates not only survival, but also successful reproduction following reintegration into the wild population. However, low intraspecific competition in the area might have contributed to the reproductive success of the owl.