Wing, Prayer and a Firefighter: Smokey the Owl Recovering From Burns


An owl that was rescued by a firefighter during a wildfire in Sylmar is recovering at an animal rescue facility.

The owl, named Smokey, was removed from an oxygen tank. Workers at Valley Wildlife Care monitored his breathing, and said all signs were normal.

The great horned owl was listed Friday in stable condition. He was given a 75-percent chance of survival.

The owl flew through a wall of flame during the Sayre Fire. A firefighter saw the bird and rescued him.

The nonprofit facility sent photos and a note.

"It has been 24 hrs and Smokey is no longer considered in critical status. He is stable. We now believe that unlike his original prognosis of 50-percent chance of recovery, we are giving him a 75-percent chance of recovery. 

"We expect Smokey to be able to feed himself within the next couple of days.  We will continue to support him with fluids and force feeding and have him x-rayed daily to monitor any further lung swelling.

"His eyes are healing beautifully despite the burns on his eyelids. Our avian veterinarian believes he has no permanent vision impairment. We will have him examined by a veterinary opthomoligist prior to his release.  As you can see from the picture, the small feathers that surrounding his beak have been completely burned. These feathers are important as they serve as 'sensors' while the owl is eating in the dark.  These feather shafts will need time to heal and re-grow."

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