Frequently Asked Questions

How do I contact you if I have an injured or baby owl?

We ask that if you find an injured or orphaned owl, you contact your local Humane Society or rehabilitator. In both cases, these birds must receive immediate and appropriate care. Read our Rescue Information for tips on what to do if you have found an injured or orphaned owl. To find a rehabilitator in Canada go here and scroll down to the Canada listings. To find one in the United States go here.

Can I visit your facility?

Yes and no.

We are closed to the general public. We are, in essence, a hospital and as such, it is imperative that we keep human activity to a minimum. Remember that we house wild and injured owls - all of which are easily stressed. As well, these birds do not act naturally in the presence of people. This can disrupt both breeding and behavioural studies.

Sponsors who donate $50.00 or more are invited to attend The Owl Foundation's Annual Sponsors' Tours in fall. Tours are given only in the autumn on pre-designated dates and times. They require scheduling in advance. Sponsors receive preselected dates and times via mail upon initial sponsorship and after renewal. Our primary concern is for the birds. Fall is the least stressful and disruptive time of year to view the owls as they are not breeding and relationship formation is minimal.

Can I come anytime during the autumn for a tour?

Our Fall Tours are designed to make as little impact on the birds we house as possible. We set aside only two weekends every year for this event as a result. We cannot provide tours of the facility at other times during the fall.

Why didn't I receive my Tour date this year?

Did you renew your membership this year? Tours are offered only to current sponsors.

If you have renewed your sponsorship immediately after our Tours have been completed (e.g. November), your scheduled Tour date will be valid for the coming year (11 months away). It is up to you to remember as the date approaches. We suggest putting the invitation on your refrigerator.

Can I sponsor an owl as a gift?

Yes. Simply print and fill out the sponsorship form and in addition to your information, enter your friend's name, address and phone number in the spaces provided. We will send them their unique Photo Certificate and you your tax deductible receipt. Alternatively, you can print the sponsorship form and let them choose personally before sending us your information (we can also send the sponsorship 'card' form directly to you or your friend. This is a more attractive format when giving the sponsor form itself as the gift - just email us with the address you wish the form sent to).

What does my donation go towards?

Owls are expensive to house and keep. Food (mice, rats and quail), cage repair and maintenance and shipping expenses are all routine, costly expenditures.

Where do you release the owls?

Owls hatched at The Owl Foundation are released in the area from which their parents came. This ensures that the genes we are placing into the wild are not being unnaturally shifted (i.e. we would release progeny of two Newfoundland birds back in Newfoundland, not in northern Ontario). Those injured or orphaned birds that we receive as juveniles or adults from the wild are returned to the areas they were first found in (unless these areas are dangerous). We release owls only in areas deemed acceptable by our experienced and knowledgeable resident zoologists. It is also important to consider which species are migratory and which are not, how large of a territory an individual owl needs and whether a particular owl has formed a relationship with another during its stay at TOF before deciding on a release location.

Do you band owls before release?

Yes. Each bird is banded with a U.S. Fish and Wildlife band.

Where do your owls come from?

While we do breed for release many of the native Canadian owl species at the Foundation, we also receive injured and orphaned owls through Humane Societies and rehabilitators. We try to find places in our breeding and foster parent programs for non-releasable individuals. In special circumstances, permanently damaged owls are transferred to us from other facilities to be incorporated into our breeding program.

What do the owls eat?

Most of the owls at TOF are fed laboratory-bred mice. Many of our larger species also eat rats and quail. Smaller owl species that would naturally supplement their diets with insects are free to do so in their outdoor enclosures.

Can I buy an owl?

No. It is illegal to buy, sell or trade owls in Canada. In fact, without the proper permits, it is illegal to be in possession of any of our birds of prey (alive or dead). This includes feathers. Keeping owls requires not only permits, but a sound knowledge of owl requirements, species and Strigiforme life history.

Do you accept volunteers?

If you are interested in being a volunteer driver - somebody willing to pick up owls in distress from your area and transport them to local veterinarians, rehabilitators or to us via a "relay" of volunteer drivers - we would love to have your name on file for future owl emergencies. If this is something you feel you may have time for, please drop us a line through email. You are also welcome to send your name, address and "willing to do" list to be kept on file.


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