HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- The Carolina Raptor Center marked a major milestone when they treated patient number 1000 just this year-- which is an all time record for the facility in Huntersville.
The injured Barred Owl, brought into the Carolina Raptor Center, is believed to have been hit by a car
Officials say the owl has a fracture to a bone in her shoulder. Mammals and humans don't have this bone but it's very important for birds, they say.
She's not just any patient-- this owl is the Carolina Raptor Center's 1000th patient this year alone.
We’re told that’s about a 40 percent increase in the last four years alone.
In fact while NBC Charlotte was there, the center's 1001th patient came in-- another Barred Owl that’s being examined after being brought in by animal control.
Barred Owls are just one of the birds the Carolina Raptor Center treats. The Raptor Center treats all sorts of birds of prey, such as eagles, hawks, osprey and vultures—which aren’t technically raptors.
After the birds are examined and stabilized, they're brought out to cages where they get the least amount of human contact possible so they can recover and get back out to the wild."
The center has state of the art technology donated by Novant Presbyterian Hospital, so if major surgery is needed they are prepared, and many of the these birds suffer serious injuries.
Officials with the Raptor Center tell NBC Charlotte that the number two identifiable cause of birds coming in is gunshot—which they remind is very illegal. There's many state and federal laws that prohibit shooting raptors.
Though they don't always know what brought the wounded raptors to them, they say they always try to save them so they can return to the wild.
The injured Barred Owl is sporting a wrapped shoulder. It will rest in a cage for six to eight weeks before it's released.