Donations of dead mice, squirrels, birds wanted for owls
A raptor rehabilitation facility in Invermere is seeking free food as the busy season begins
A veterinary hospital in B.C. Kootenay region is putting out a public plea for donations of road kill and rodents.
The Invermere Veterinary Hospital is facing a shortage of dead mice to feed its birds of prey.
Mark Zehnder, a doctor at animal hospital, says the facility runs a raptor rehabilitation program with two patients at the moment.
"One is a great horned owl and the other is a barred owl, and they will probably go through, together, probably about five or six mice a day," he said.
And, the busy season is fast approaching, he says.
In previous years, the hospital has put an ad in the classifieds for nearby residents to bring in any dead mice or squirrels.
"Basically like 'calling all dead mice' or whatever... That type of thing," he said.
And again, this year, the clinic is hoping to get hundreds of rodents for the mid and late-spring rush.
In addition to dead mice, the hospital will also take dead squirrels or small birds — but only animals that died from almost-natural deaths.
"Of course we don't want poisoned mice, or we don't want rodents that have been shot with anything like a lead slug, 'cause that can poison the birds as well," Zehnder said.
"So, if they catch them in a trap, then they can put them in a plastic bag in the freezer and if they want to bring them in to us, we'll be happy to take them."
If the clinic doesn't get enough rodents donated, it will buy them.
With files from the CBC's Jaimie Kehler