The Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society is a non-profit organization whose volunteers are dedicated to public education and the rehabilitation and release of injured and orphaned birds. O.W.L. became a Society in January 1985 (Registration No. S-19879). O.W.L. is licensed through Fish and Wildlife, now known as the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
O.W.L. is on call seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. Public tours are available daily in July and August and every Saturday and Sunday from September to June between 10:00am and 3:00pm.
The facility specializes in raptors (i.e. eagles, falcons, hawks and owls). Birds of prey patients at O.W.L. number over four hundred each year and as O.W.L.’s facilities have expanded, so has the intake. Primary care for injured birds (i.e. fluid injections, tube feeding, and initial treatment of broken bones to stabilize) is administered by staff. Veterinary care (i.e. surgery involving the pinning of fractures, radiographs and amputations) is contributed by local clinics such as Huff Animal Hospital, Richmond Animal Hospital, and Tsawwassen Animal Hospital.
Birds of prey are sent to O.W.L. from all over British Columbia, other provinces and the U.S.A. The majority of birds arrive from the Lower Mainland. Although we encourage the public to transport injured or orphaned birds to the facility, O.W.L. has a network of volunteers when pick-up is necessary.
O.W.L. continues to expand the programs and the facility through public donations and the support of companies who provide sponsorships, materials and supplies. In 1995, O.W.L. undertook the development of an Interpretation Centre to enhance the educational programs and to increase public awareness of birds of prey, their habitat and environmental impact.
Over 40 non-releasable birds of prey are permanent residents, some assist with fostering orphans and some assist with educating public. O.W.L. offers onsite and offsite educational programs by honorarium. Vancouver, Richmond, Delta, Tsawwassen, Surrey, Langley and surrounding school districts routinely visit the facility for field trips each week. Elementary school students visit to learn about and view our permanent residents including owls, hawks, falcons and eagles. The “O.W.L. in the Classroom.” program where an O.W.L. educator is out in the schools five days a week, educates people of all ages about the importance of birds of prey in our environment, and what we can do to help these birds.
Since 1987, O.W.L. has been involved in a student work program with Senior Secondary Schools. Biology students come to O.W.L. for two to three weeks as a full-time volunteer, gaining actual work experience in technical and scientific fields. Since becoming accredited, O.W.L. has helped university veterinary students obtain practical skills in raptor rehabilitation. The University of Melbourne Australia, Taiwanese University, Douglas College and BCIT are some of the schools we have assisted. The Mental Health Association utilizes the facility for some of their clients to learn job skills. Human Resources refers individuals to O.W.L. to get their additional hours of work as well as job training. Youth Corp participants have helped with the construction of O.W.L.’s Care Centre and received oil spill training.
O.W.L.was the proud recipient of the 1990 Minister’s Environmental Award in recognition of outstanding achievement in the protection and enhancement of the British Columbia environment. In June of 1999, O.W.L. received the same award in the “Community and Non-Profit Organization” category.