The BC SPCA is encouraging drivers to be on the lookout for owls as fall arrives and days begin getting shorter.
The SPCA says owls hunt in low light, and that early autumn is a time when Wild ARC in Sooke sees an increase in injured owl patients.
Last year, Wild ARC received a great horned owl that was found beside a highway at dusk.
The SPCA suspects the owl was struck by a car while hunting for food in Sooke. It suffered a broken wing but was able to recover after several weeks.
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“As the days get shorter and people commute to and from work in the dark, nocturnal animals like owls are also active at these times, hunting near roadsides for small rodents like mice and shrews,” said Dr. Andrea Wallace, BC SPCA manager of wild animal welfare in a release Tuesday.
“As a result, they are at higher risk from vehicle collisions during this time of year, and we encourage those on the road to exercise extra caution when driving,” she said.
The BC SPCA encourages drivers to scan for animals on the shoulders of roads, particularly at dawn and dusk, and to follow speed limits.
Drivers should also watch out for eyes reflecting off of headlights and watch the cars ahead of them for unexpected stops, which could indicate animals are nearby.
The SPCA does not recommend that people honk or flash their lights at wildlife if they are near the road, as it can startle them and send them further into the paths of vehicles.