A volunteer with a Sudbury wild animal refuge centre says a snowy owl rescued by Sudbury police officers is on the road to recovery.

Judy Miller, who works with Wild at Heart Animal Refuge Centre, said officers found the owl behind the Supermall on Lasalle Boulevard last Thursday. Officers phoned the Wild at Heart centre, as the facility deals with orphaned, injured and sick wild animals.

Ravens were diving at the bird, police reported.

“They didn’t know if it was injured or what was wrong with it,” Miller said.

By the time she got to the stranded bird, the owl had hopped up a snow bank.

“When I went towards him, he tried to fly,” she recalled. “But he was so weak he had no lift. But he did a head dive all the way down the snow bank.”

Miller said the snow was deep, and the rescue was no easy task. Eventually she ended up in deep snow herself, and police had to help her out of the snow bank.

“I’m glad the cops waited and didn’t just leave when I got there [because] I’d probably still be in that snow,” she said with a laugh.

'Severe dehydration'

Miller took the owl back to the refuge centre and hooked him up to an IV.

“He was so weak. He was just lying there,” she said. “He didn’t even grip with his claws — that’s how weak he was.”

She said she and other staff looked over the bird, and determined there were no injuries.

“We opened his mouth and it was just all stringy saliva, and his tongue was white, so you knew it was severe dehydration,” she said.

Miller also noted the owl was underweight. She figured the large amount of snow in the area this winter led to his lack of nourishment.

“[The owls] are probably not finding mice,” she said.

Despite the condition of the owl when it was rescued, Miller said the outcome looks good for the bird.

“I think he’s going to make it [as] he’s [not] injured,” she said.

“On Sunday he was still too weak to perch, but he was standing upright and he wasn’t lying down like he was when I first brought him in.”

The owl has been named "Copper" in recognition of the police who located the bird and called the animal centre for assistance.