Teddy was found on the side of a road just south of North Bay and was taken to a rehab centre in Northern Ontario. A physical examination revealed that she is likely completely blind in her right eye although she does have sight in her left eye. While owls do use their acute sense of hearing to find food, they still require eyesight to hunt and find their way through the forst. It is likely that Teddy was hit by a vehicle.
The winter of 2007/2008 was a difficult one for northern raptors. Due to a low crop of conifer seeds, there was a low population of small rodents such as mice and meadow voles that rely on this food source. This meant that the raptors had to expand their hunting areas in order to find enough prey. This could be the reason that Teddy was hunting near a roadside rather than deep in the forest where Barred Owls prefer to hunt. Roadsides can be attractive to rodents such as mice due to the presence of garbage which provides a food source for the mice. Also, being her first winter, Teddy would have still been a relatively inexperienced hunter. A raptor's first winter is the most difficult time in their life; it is estimated that only 30% of all raptors live to see their first birthday.
Barred Owl (Strix varia)
Captive bird from The Mountsberg Raptor Centre