The female mate of a Great Horned owl found dead in a Saanich park is alive and appears to be grieving.
Local environmental advocate Dorothy Chambers was heart-broken when she spotted the body of well-known father owl of Cuthbert Holmes Park – affectionately referred to as Ollie – dead on the ground on Oct. 17.
Ollie’s body was on the edge of the river but wasn’t wet – indicating he’d died recently – and showed no signs of injury. She suspects he ingested rat poison.
Chambers scooped up the dead bird to be sent for a necropsy through the B.C. Ministry of Environment.
She then set out to search for Ollie’s mate – Oulette – as the female owl hadn’t been spotted for some time and advocates feared that she may have ingested poison as well since mates share food.
On Wednesday, Chambers told Black Press Media that Oulette had finally been spotted alive.
“Sadly, she spent four days in a tree right where he died,” she explained. “It all breaks my heart.”
Owls mate for life, Chambers said, and the pair had fledged two baby owls in the park each year for more than a decade.
As an advocate for Cuthbert Holmes Park, she’d been monitoring Ollie and Oulette for the past nine years and remembers rescuing some of their owlets that had tumbled from the nest.