In 2012, a screech owl was discovered blind and emaciated on someone’s front porch in central California. Veterinarians nursed him back to health but deemed him “non-releasable” due to his loss of vision, preventing him from hunting and surviving on his own in the wild. It’s believed that he only has about 10% of his vision.
According to the Wildlife Learning Center where Zeus now lives, he was diagnosed with “conjunctivitis, corneal degeneration, endotheliopathy, anterior uveitis, most likely caused by a traumatic event like flying into something or being attacked by a predator.
Zeus’ condition is a capsular cataract and the white flecks that glisten in his eyes are the result of fibrin and blood pigment clots. These pigments cause a unique appearance that some have described as a “view of the Universe” quality in his eyes, for which he is now well-known for. Hence the name Zeus, the Greek God of sky and thunder.
The Wildlife Learning Center says Zeus’ condition does not cause him pain and he’s otherwise happy and healthy. The staff take special care of him and the tiny western screech owl has become a big hit with guests and staff of the center. For more information on visiting hours and how you can help, visit the Wildlife Learning Center’s official website.